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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Reported Dead at Age 58

Michael Nagle/Getty Images

According to Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, President Hugo Chavez has died from complications of his fight with cancer. 

Officials with the Venezuelan government report that Chavez had developed a respiratory infection after his most recent cancer surgery.

Chavez had just recently returned to Venezuela after spending two months undergoing treatment in Cuba. Details about his health had been in question for some time, with mixed stories on his condition. Over the weekend vice president Maduro even said Chavez was still in Cuba getting Chemo treatments.

Chavez came from a working class family, and joined the military early in life. He became a career officer, and after growing tired of what he saw as a corrupt and undemocratic political system, he went into politics.

Hugo Chaves was elected in 1998, and took the office of president in February of 1999. Through his years in office, he introduced a new constitution that gave more rights to marginalized groups. He also brought in a program for land reform and he nationalized various key industries.

Chavez refused to play ball with the U.S., often criticizing American foreign policy and aligning himself with the socialist governments of Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

The country will most likely hold general elections soon.  The law requires that elections take place within 30 days.

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