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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dead at age 58

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Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president who vilified US and electrified Latin American left, dies

For the past two years, President Hugo Chavez has battled an aggressive form of cancer that has all but taken him away from the world spotlight he so greatly enjoyed.  After 14 years of highly controversial and outspoken leadership, Chavez' death will bring about an interesting time in Venezuela. 

New reports have announced that Vice President Nicolas Maduro will become the interim president of Venezuela, with new elections to be held within 30 days.  As Chavez' self-appointed successor, it is expected that Maduro will graduate to the president-elect after those elections.

Mr. Maduro has the money quote for the day:

"We have no doubt that commander Chavez was attacked with this illness [by] the historical enemies of our homeland.”

The Chavista movement, the growth of leftist authoritarianism in South America, the push for a united continent - these tenets once championed by Chavez are now in question.  Can Chavismo survive without Chavez?  With quotes like the above from the presumed successor, there may be reason to think that leftist socialism is here to stay in Venezuela.

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