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Chavez Dies (with CNC3 video)
Hours after Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez succumbed to a long battle with cancer yesterday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar recalled how she gave a bottle of holy water to the flamboyant socialist leader when she last visited Venezuela for a diplomatic meeting. Speaking to reporters at City Hall, San Fernando, yesterday, Persad-Bissessar expressed deep condolences to Chavez’s family and the people of Venezuela on his passing.
“He has always been a very flamboyant character and a hard-working man in his own way,” she said. “He broke a lot of ground and worked for his country to the best of his ability and I am sure that many will mourn his passing.” Recalling her last conversation with Chavez, the PM said: “I wished him better health. There were some Trinidadians there who gave me a bottle of holy water from Mount St Benedict and I passed it to him and wished him the best.”
“I told him to come to Mount St Benedict to bathe in the holy water. He was very warm to us. I do feel his loss and I am sure the people of Venezuela will praise him for the work he has done.” Asked whether she planned to attend his funeral, Persad-Bissessar said this will be determined at the Cabinet level.
Opposition senator Faris Al-Rawi also expressed condolences to the leader’s family and people. He said Chavez left a legacy of commitments to the improvement of social services for the citizens and had a “clear and well-actioned track record of tackling the poverty line in Venezuela.
“He also left a legacy in the energy sector in supporting the PetroCaribe oil and development agreement that really left a serious effect in the Caribbean,” Al-Rawi added, saying he hoped the state of bilateral negotiations between Venezuela and T&T would not be affected. “This is something which T&T will be paying close attention to but we are confident that the people of Venezuela will remain as ingenuous and socially committed as they have always been,” he said.
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