Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías became President of Venezuela in 1999. Over the years, Venezuela has improved a number of economic and social indicators, including a doubling of GDP, and reducing unemployment. Chávez won four consecutive presidential elections, the last time in October 2012, with a mandate to govern the country until 2019. However, after the last elections, President Chávez wasn’t formally-inaugurated because of illness, as he was under treatment in Cuba, he only returned home on 10 January. Chávez died Wednesday night (Moscow time), at the age of 58. He struggled with cancer, which doctors diagnosed in mid-2011. The Venezuelan government announced a seven-day mourning period, with flags at half-staff and thousands of people gathered at the hospital where he died. Some other countries (including Belarus) declared three days of mourning.
7 March 2013