Just before leaving for Venezuela to attend the funeral of Hugo Chávez, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad penned a laudatory tribute for the late president.
"[Chavez] is alive, as long as nations are alive and struggle for consolidating independence, justice and kindness. I have no doubt that he will come back, and along with Christ the Saviour, the heir to all saintly and perfect men, and will bring peace, justice and perfection for all," Ahmadinejad wrote in a letter he sent the Venezuelan vice president.
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is an especially tough blow for Cuba, whose feeble state-run economy has been propped up for more than a decade with Venezuelan oil shipments and other subsidies.
The Castro government has declared three days of mourning, calling Chavez "a son" of Cuba, but privately Cubans are quietly fretting about the potential loss of billions in trade and the threat of a new economic crisis.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks in a televised address in January 2002 at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. Chavez vowed justice for two men who were shot and killed Jan. 3 at a political rally in a battle between Chavez supporters, opposition marchers and security forces.
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Venezuelans wait for hours in gas lines in Caracas on Dec. 21, 2002, the 20th day of a general strike protesting Chavez's rule. The strike temporarily crippled Venezuela's vital oil industry.
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Cuban President Fidel Castro greets Chavez upon his arrival in Havana in December 1994. The two leaders were steadfast allies.
Credit Rodrigo Abd / AP
Standing next to a portrait of independence hero Simon Bolivar, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during a press conference at Miraflores Palace in the capital, Caracas, in October 2012.
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Chavez delivers a televised address on Jan. 5, 2002, two days after clashes between his supporters and opponents left two men dead. He was briefly deposed a few months later in a coup that he claimed the Bush administration was behind.
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Chavez attends a welcoming ceremony for his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales (left), at the presidential palace in Caracas in September 2011.
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Chavez and his wife, Marisabel, wave to supporters in July 1998, as Chavez arrives at the National Electoral Council to register for the presidential election. He won the election by a landslide.
Credit Ali Gomez / AP
As a lieutenant colonel in 1992, Chavez led a failed attempt to oust President Carlos Andres Perez. Here he speaks with reporters at the Defense Ministry after he surrendered to troops loyal to the president.
Credit Fernando Llano / AP
A man holds up an image of Chavez as people gather to pray for him at Simon Bolivar Square in Caracas on Dec. 11, 2012. Chavez was in Cuba at the time for cancer treatment.
Credit Jorge Santo / AP
Chavez addresses a crowd in Caracas on Feb. 4, 1998, the anniversary of the failed 1992 coup that would launch his military career.
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Chavez inspects the Air Force in Catilletes, near the border with Colombia, in March 2001.
Credit Ariana Cubillos / AP
Chavez waves next to his daughter, Rosa Virginia, during a military parade in Caracas in February 2012, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the failed coup attempt that launched his political career.
Credit Granma / AP
Chavez speaks with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana in June 2011. Chavez went to Cuba to undergo surgery.
All Tuesday night, we listened to South Floridians react to the death of Hugo Chavez. Many (most) of the reactions were celebratory. Those celebrations took the form of songs, drive-by shoutings and apparently an accordion death ballad.
Below is a roundup of the most colorful reactions to the death of Venezuela's oft-beloved and perhaps equally hated leader.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, has died, Vice President Nicolás Maduro announced in a televised statement.
Chávez died at a military hospital in Caracas at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday. He was 58.
In power since 1999, the former military commander became an icon of socialist policies in Latin America. With his country's oil wealth as backup, he launched fierce and unyielding criticism of the United States and its allies.
A handout picture made available Friday by the Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and Information shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his daughters Rosa Virginia (right) and Maria Gabriela reading an edition of Cuban daily Granma, as he recovers from cancer surgery. It was reportedly taken on Thursday.
A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a heart-shaped sign that reads in Spanish "I vote for Chavez!" and a picture of Chavez outside the National Assembly in Caracas over the weekend. On Thursday, Chavez is scheduled to be sworn in for a fourth term. Government officials are suggesting the ceremony could be delayed as the president recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.
In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."
Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.
2012 may be remembered in Latin American for what didn't happen more than for what actually did, especially in Venezuela and Cuba.
The year began ominously for Venezuelan nationals living in South Florida. The U.S. State Department expelled the country's consul-general, alleging she was involved in a cyber-terrorism plot. In January, Venezuela's Miami consulate was shut down by President Hugo Chavez, who was facing a tough reelection campaign.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, center, addresses the nation flanked by Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, left, and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday.
Miami Herald South America bureau chief Jim Wyss on Venezuela, Colombia and the Summer Games
Forget the US election.
There may be an even more important presidential vote taking place in Venezuela this fall.
Miami Herald South America bureau chief Jim Wyss updates WLRN's Phil Latzman on Hugo Chavez's fight to keep his job against upstart opponent Henrique Capriles. Also discussed: political strife in Colombia and Latin American countries tasting rare Olympic glory during the Summer Games in London.