Venezuelan officials call for unity after Chavez dies

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Associated Press

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 11:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 5 at 11:33 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's vice president has been named interim president following the death of President Hugo Chavez.

The country's foreign minister says elections will be called within 30, and Vice President Nicolas Maduro will be the ruling party's candidate.

It was Maduro who told the country on national television that their 58-year-old leader had died. In tears and his voice breaking, Maduro said Chavez battled hard for nearly two years against "an illness." He did not say what exactly killed Chavez, although the government had announced Monday night that a severe new respiratory infection had severely weakened him. Chavez had been undergoing cancer treatments.

In announcing the death of the former army paratrooper, Maduro called on Venezuelans to avoid violence and be "dignified heirs of the giant man," who wielded Venezuela's oil wealth to benefit the poor and win friends regionally.

The government declared 7 days of mourning, and Venezuelans raced home after Tuesday's announcement and stocked up on food and water.

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269-r-17-(Sound of Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, reading a statement announcing the death of President Hugo Chavez)--Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says the most difficult and tragic information that can be given to the nation was received at 4:25 local time on this day, March 5, that President Hugo Chavez has died. (5 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *269 (03/05/13)>> 00:17

271-a-12-(U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in remarks)-"of President Chavez"-U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offers condolences to the people of Venezuela over the death of President Hugo Chavez. (5 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *271 (03/05/13)>> 00:12 "of President Chavez"

268-w-37-(Ed Donahue, AP correspondent, with archive audio of Hugo Chavez, through an interpreter and Professor George Ciccariello-Maher)--The announcement has been made in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has died. The AP's Ed Donahue reports. Updated: 03/05/2013-06:29:48 PM ET (5 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *268 (03/05/13)>> 00:37

270-r-13-(Sound of Venezuelan national anthem, played on television before the announcement President Hugo Chavez has died)--Sound of Venezuelan national anthem played on television before the announcement President Hugo Chavez has died. (5 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *270 (03/05/13)>> 00:13

250-r-11-(Sound of Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, reading statement announcing the death of President Hugo Chavez)--Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says the nation accompanies President Hugo Chavez to his final resting place in peace, as one family. (5 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *250 (03/05/13)>> 00:11

252-r-14-(Sound of Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, reading statement announcing the death of President Hugo Chavez)--Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says the nation needs to be strong through this pain and difficult time and needs to unite more than ever. (5 Mar 2013)

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267-a-14-(George Ciccariello-Maher (CHICK'-ah-rehl-loh-Mahr), Venezuelan expert and political science professor at Drexel University, in AP interview)-"across Venezuelan society"-Professor George Ciccariello-Maher says changes in Venezuela were not all caused by Hugo Chavez. (5 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *267 (03/05/13)>> 00:14 "across Venezuelan society"

264-a-08-(George Ciccariello-Maher (CHICK'-ah-rehl-loh-Mahr), Venezuelan expert and political science professor at Drexel University, in AP interview)-"become profoundly un-Democratic"-Professor George Ciccariello-Maher says Hugo Chevez did a lot to change Venezuela for the better. (5 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *264 (03/05/13)>> 00:08 "become profoundly un-Democratic"

251-r-11-(Sound of Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, reading statement announcing the death of President Hugo Chavez)--Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says the nation is left free and independent by the supreme leader, the force of the revolution, President Hugo Chavez. (5 Mar 2013)

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GRAPHICSBANK: HUGO CHAVEZ, as Venezuela President, waves during 2002 parade commemorating anniversary of Venezuelan democracy, Caracas, Venezuela, with 1954-2013 lettering, finished graphic (5 Mar 2013)

APPHOTO CHA145: FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2012 file photo, backdropped by a portrait of independence hero Simon Bolivar, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks during a press conference at the Miraflores palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File) (13 Dec 2012)

<<APPHOTO CHA145 (12/13/12)>>

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