President Barack Obama said the death of President Hugo Chavez marks a challenging time for Venezuela.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is affirming American support for the Venezuelan people and a constructive relationship with their government after the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Obama said in a statement that Chavez's death marks a challenging time for Venezuela. He said the U.S. is committed to promoting democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law.
Venezuela's vice president announced Chavez died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. Chavez, a fiery populist, led Venezuela for 14 years.
Venezuela's foreign minister Elias Jaua said Vice President Maduro assumes an interim presidency, adding that elections will be called in 30 days and that Maduro will be the government candidate.
Chavez's inner circle has long claimed the United States was behind a failed 2002 attempt to overthrow him, and he has frequently played the anti-American card to stir up support. The announcement of Chavez's death came hours after the government said it had expelled two U.S. diplomats from Venezuela.
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