General Assembly pays tribute to late President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela

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Late President Hugo Chavez

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday paid tribute to the late President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

The Assembly held a solemn meeting which began with the observation of a moment of silence in memory of the Venezuelan leader who passed away on 5 March.

The President of the General Assembly, Vuk Jeremić, said history will remember President Chavez, whose policies brought Venezuela's poverty rate down from over 70 per cent at the close of the 20th century to around 20 per cent today.

"Throughout his term in office he remained committed to the cause of social justice, working hard to improve the lives of Venezuelans, especially the most underprivileged among them. Under his strong leadership, Venezuela made great strides toward fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals to the lasting benefit of a great and proud nation."

In his statement to the General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the late President Hugo Chavez was one of those leaders who made a difference in his country, the region and the world.

Secretary-General Ban said Hugo Chavez also showed solidarity toward other nations in the hemisphere.

"Perhaps most notably, President Chávez ensured that Venezuela provided crucial assistance to Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010. He always reminded the region of the historic debt that it owed to Haiti, the first republic to gain independence in Latin America and the Caribbean."

Representatives of regional groups made statements paying tribute to the late President Hugo Chavez.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1"27"

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