HUGO CHAVEZ DEAD

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The Daily Banter Headline Grab from The Guardian:

Hugo Chavéz, the president of Venezuela, has died in a military hospital after a long battle against cancer, the vice-president has announced, prompting a wave of mourning in the country he ruled since 1999 with a globally distinctive and influential style of leadership.

The symbol of Latin American socialism succumbed to a respiratory infection on Tuesday evening, 21 months after he first revealed he had a tumour. He had not been seen in public for three months since undergoing emergency surgery in Cuba on 11 December.

He will be given a state funeral in Caracas, likely to be attended by millions of supporters and leftwing leaders from across the globe who have been inspired by Chavéz's doctrine of "Bolivarian 21st-century socialism", grateful for the subsidised energy he provided or simply impressed by his charisma.

His death will also trigger a presidential election, which must be held within 30 days, to decide who controls the world's greatest untapped reserves of oil. Chavéz's designated successor is the vice-president, Nicolás Maduro, who is likely to face Henrique Capriles, the losing opposition candidate in the most recent presidential election. Until then, according to the constitution, the interim president should be the head of the national assembly, Diosdado Cabello.