News of longtime Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’ death reached the world Tuesday, prompting a wave of remorse from world leaders, international socialists, Hollywood icons, and the U.S. media.
The Islamic Republic of Iran declared a national day of mourning for the passing of a ruler whose name, in the words of the country’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “is a reminder of cleanliness and kindness, bravery…dedication and tireless efforts to serve the people, especially the poor and those scarred by colonialism and imperialism.”
A top leader of the Fatah movement in Palestine– which has received billions of dollars from the United States in foreign assistance– said of Chavez: “Palestine says goodbye to a loyal friend who passionately defended our right to freedom and self determination…His contribution to the cause of dignity had no borders and reached the hearts and minds of the Arab world.”
Chavez is well-remembered for calling former U.S. President George W. Bush the devil during a United Nations speech, and back in America, filmmaker Michael Moore reflected on the time he met the Venezuelan despot:
Other actors and Hollywood types soon followed suit.
Sean Penn, whose close relationship with the anti-American revolutionary was often questioned, said in a statement: “…the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela.”
Oliver Stone added, “I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place…Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned.”
Others, like Roseanne Barr and recording artist M.I.A., simply tweeted something along the lines of “R.I.P.”
While President Obama’s official response stopped short of praising the Venezuelan leader, at least one U.S. Representative heaped praise on the man, calling him “committed to empowering the powerless.”
Noting that he did not always agree with his “methods,” former U.S. President Jimmy Carter added in the same vein: “President Chávez will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence…We hope that as Venezuelans mourn the passing of President Chávez and recall his positive legacies — especially the gains made for the poor and vulnerable — the political leaders will move the country forward…”
Here’s United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s reaction, via CNN:
Last but not least, Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro aggregated reactions from a variety of U.S. media outlets:
…The Associated Press ran a fawning obit for the authoritarian, leading with the droolingly ugly line, “President Hugo Chavez was a fighter.” Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post sounded off to call Chavez, “quick,” “popular,” and funny. Larry King, formerly of CNN, called in to say that Chavez was “effusive,” “huggable,” and “larger than life.”
The Atlantic wrote, presumably while weeping openly, “Passionate and charismatic, Chávez slipped comfortably into the role of romantic Latin American revolutionary, championing the poor against an unfeeling local oligarchy and its imperial paymasters….Today millions of Venezuelans will weep tears of genuine anguish at his passing.” Foreign Policy magazine ran an op-ed calling Chavez “another heroic martyr in the vein of Guevara or Chile’s Salvador Allende,” stating that Chavez might even reach “Bolivarian proportions.”
Bloomberg TV’s obituary sounded like it was written by Chavez’s press agent: “He rode a wave of revolution into power, and over 14 years would transform his country’s place on the world stage …. It was oil revenues that allowed Chavez to pour money into food and education programs in Venezuela.” [Emphasis added]
This post has been updated.