RIP: Hugo Chavez

The Venezuelan leader died of cancer. He was 58.

Adored or reviled for his self-styled populist revolution, Chavez held sway over Venezuela through a cult of personality, government reforms that championed the downtrodden, and an endless stream of rhetoric denouncing capitalism, imperialism and the United States.

The “Chavistas” praised El Comandante for reducing extreme poverty and expanding access to health care and education. Critics blamed him for high inflation, food shortages, escalating crime and mismanagement of the country’s oil industry.

Oddly enough, Josef Stalin also died on this day, back in 1974.

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