HUGO CHAVEZ 1954-2013

Carter hails Chávez's commitment to improving the lives of Venezuelans

Former US president Jimmy Carters praised Chávez's efforts to "create new forms of integration" in Latin America and the Caribbean, noting that during his 14-year tenure Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half and a more effective participation in political and economic life was facilitated to millions

Carter greets Chávez during a visit to Venezuela (Photo: AP)
Wednesday March 06, 2013  12:34 AM
Former United States President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) on Tuesday expressed its condolences to the family of late President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez and stressed his "commitment" to improving the lives of millions of Venezuelans.

"Rosalynn and I extend our condolences to the family of Hugo Chávez Frías," Carter said in a statement on behalf of himself and his wife, Efe reported.

Carter said his first meeting with Chavez took place in 1998, when the recently deceased Venezuelan leader was campaigning for the presidency.

He recalled that during that first meeting and others with Chávez he became acquainted with a man with a "vision" to address "profound changes in his country" and benefit the population sectors most neglected and marginalized.

Carter insisted that despite not having agreed with "all of the methods followed by his government," he never doubted Chávez's commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.

"President Chávez will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad," said Carter.

During his 14-year tenure, "Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time allowing them to participate more effectively in their country's economic and political life," Carter wrapped up.

The end of a cycle

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brazil on March 13 to demand the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, carrying banners expressing anger at bribery scandals and economic woes. A banner read "We don't want a new Venezuela in Brazil."