UPDATED: at the end.
A report from RT:
The government’s announcement, from Venezuelan TV via Britain’s Channel 4:
From the BBC:
An emotional Nicolas Maduro made the announcement on Tuesday evening, flanked by leading Venezuelan political and military leaders.Earlier, he said the 58-year-old Venezuelan leader had a new, severe respiratory infection and had entered “his most difficult hours”.
He also announced the government had expelled two US diplomats from the country for spying on Venezuela’s military.
He said he had no doubt that Mr Chavez’s cancer, first diagnosed in 2011, had been induced by foul play by Venezuela’s enemies.
Then consider this from the Chris Kraul and Mery Mogollon of the Los Angeles Times:
Chavez won the lower classes’ support by redistributing the nation’s vast oil wealth through welfare programs called missions, which set up medical clinics and schools, operated a chain of cut-rate grocery stores, and divvied up nationalized farms and ranches among cooperatives of the impoverished.
Daniel Hellinger, a political science professor at Webster University in St. Louis, said the welfare programs reduced Venezuela’s poverty rate from close to 80% in the 1990s to about 20%, and wiped out illiteracy.
“To millions of poor Venezuelans excluded from meaningful participation in politics, Chavez offered hope for a new kind of democracy that would open doors of government to them,” Hellinger said. “However much the system fell short of that aspiration, it was Chavez who gave voice to it.”