CARACAS — Hundreds of anguished Venezuelans poured into the streets of downtown Caracas crying, hugging each other and shouting slogans in support of President Hugo Chavez after learning of his death Tuesday.
NDJ World | Published: Mar 06 2013 South America→World News
Clusters of women with tears streaming down their faces clung to each other and wept near the Miraflores presidential palace. Some wore T-shirts with slogans that read “Go forward commander!”
“I feel such big pain I can’t even speak,” said Yamilina Barrios, a 39-year-old office worker weeping at a street corner. “He was the best thing the country had … I adore him. Let’s hope the country calms down and we can continue the tasks he left us.”
Many people left work and rushed home as shops and offices began to close early and tension gripped the streets in Caracas.
Men with grim and somber faces pumped their arms in the air while shouting “Long live Chavez! Long live Chavismo!”
Cars and buses clogged streets that were passable only by speeding motorcycles. Dozens of extra police officers arrived downtown to help direct traffic and watch the streets.
“I want to go home,” said Maria Lover, a 45-year-old housewife. “People are crazy and get too desperate.”
Hugo Chavez, who was charismatic and powerful, is missed and hated by many simultaneously.
His greater than life persona will be hard to replace for a country that prides itself on having the largest proven oil reserve in the world yet became one of the United States’ strongest opponents.
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