Senior Palestinian official Nabil Sha’ath on Wednesday paid tribute to
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez who died following a two-year battle with
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also expressed his esteem for
Chavez, and Iran declared a day of national mourning.
Sha’ath noted the
former Venezuelan president’s special relationship to “Palestine,” Palestinian
news agency Ma’an reported.
“Today we remember the words of Simon
Bolivar, ‘I desire to see [Latin] America fashioned into the greatest nation in
the world, greatest not so much by virtue of her area and wealth as by her
freedom and glory.’ President Chavez endlessly worked not only for freedom and
glory for his beloved Latin America, but for all oppressed peoples, including
Palestine, a country he kept in his heart,” Sha’ath said.
who forged a public friendship with Chavez characterized by lavish mutual
praise, hugs and light-hearted moments, may attend Chavez’s funeral on Friday,
state news agency IRNA reported. Chavez shared the Islamic Republic’s loathing
for US “imperialism.”
“Hugo Chavez is a name known to all nations. His
name is a reminder of cleanliness and kindness, bravery... dedication and
tireless efforts to serve the people, especially the poor and those scarred by
colonialism and imperialism,” Ahmadinejad said.
The US had looked askance
at Venezuela’s warm relationship with Iran, fearing that Caracas could give
Tehran an economic lifeline as it struggles to stave off pressure from sanctions
over its nuclear activities.
Chavez, at a news conference with
Ahmadinejad in Caracas in January 2012, mocked US suspicions about Iran’s
nuclear work, saying: “That hill will open up and a big atomic bomb will come
Syrian state media mourned Chavez’s death on Wednesday, saying he
had taken an honorable stand against a conspiracy targeting
Chavez, an ally and regular guest of President Bashar Assad,
shipped diesel fuel to Syria last year to help it overcome shortages caused by
Western sanctions, and described the rebellion against Assad as an international
plot backed by Western powers.
Syria’s state television led its news with
the announcement of Chavez’s death, saying he had “stood up for legitimate Arab
rights, including an honorable stand toward the conspiracy against
“He repeatedly declared his solidarity with Syria’s leadership and
its people in the face of the fierce imperialist attack it was exposed to, and
condemned the American pressure [on Syria],” it said.