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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, March 07, 2013 6:23 pm

Venezuelan voices: Life after Hugo Chavez

The Associated Press

Thoughts of Venezuelans two days after the death of President Hugo Chavez:


"We've lost one of the greatest men of all time. ... It's a tragedy for Venezuela, especially the poor." - Humberto Vasquez, a 47-year-old primary school teacher who waited 10 hours to view the leader's body.


"I love Chavez and always will, but I'm tired. I really wanted to see him, but I have three kids at home who need me." - Yajira Molina, a 23-year-old waitress and single mother who decided to go back home after she waited for three hours and still saw thousands of people ahead of her in the line.


"We must think about the future and how we are going to guarantee the continuity of the revolution." - Rolando Tarazon, street vendor who was waiting with his wife to see Chavez's body.


"I come saying that as of Mr. Chavez that he hasn't mattered for a while, since December really, and that what is important is his legacy and his legacy of hate, violence, confrontation, an economy in an almost terminal state, insecurity, awful relations with the international community." - Diego Arria, former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations.


"We will put Nicolas Maduro in the presidency. That was the order of my comandante, and like soldiers of the fatherland we must follow orders." - Noris Estacio, a 46-year-old teacher.


"He acted like no other president. He opened our eyes. We were tricked by all the previous governments that never took the poor into account." - Juana Gutierrez, a 50-year-old national library employee standing outside the National Pantheon, where the remains of Simon Bolivar are kept.


Associated Press writers Christopher Toothaker, Jorge Rueda and Eduardo Castillo contributed to this report.