Palestinians Grieve Over Death of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday expressed deep sadness over the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died Tuesday after battling cancer.

Ramallah is already planning to memorialize the socialist leader, considered a close friend of the Palestinian people, in Ramallah and possibly other cities in the West Bank as well.

Many senior Palestinian Authority officials visited the Venezuelan Embassy in Ramallah on Wednesday to express their condolences

A statement issued by Abbas' office noted that the Palestinian nation and the Palestinian National Movement have lost a great supporter in the struggle for freedom and independence, and that the world has lost a distinguished leader that believes in the values of justice and equality.

According to Abbas, Chavez will be etched in the memory of Palestinians for his brave positions and unconditional support for the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem.  

Abbas noted Chavez's support for the Palestinian bid for UN recognition as a non-member state in the General Assembly. "With the passing of our brother and comrade Chavez, all the patriots fighting for their freedom have lost a great leader, who fought for a better world, clean of oppression and colonialism," he said.

Syrian state media also paid tribute to late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez on Wednesday, saying he had taken an "honorable" position on the two-year-old uprising against the Damascus regime.

Chavez "stood on the side of the Arabs' legitimate rights," said a commentary carried by SANA state news agency. "He took an honorable stance regarding the conspiracy against Syria."

Chavez was a staunch supporter of President Bashar Assad and maintained close ties with his regime even as the revolt degenerated into a bloody civil war, drawing mounting international support for the armed opposition.

Chavez "repeatedly expressed his solidarity with the Syrian leadership and people, who have been faced with a savage imperialist attack. He denounced American pressure on Syria," SANA reported.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad also expressed his condolences over the passion of the Venezuelan dictator saying, "he was a martyr for his people," and that he "defended human and revolutionary values."

The Iranian President announced that Wednesday would be a national day of mourning in memory of Chavez.

State news agency IRNA reported that Ahmadenijad may attend Chavez's funeral on Friday.

Palestinian demonstrators hold posters of Hugo Chavez at a West Bank protest. March 6, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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