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Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 12:15am
President Hugo Chavez's death made the front page of major newspapers around the world.
The fiery socialist was famous for being highly critical of the United States, and even calling former U.S. President George W. Bush "the devil," at a United Nations meeting.
“He aligned himself with leaders like Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gaddafi, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"Chavez was very cunning in that respect because he knew that to hug the President of Iran is much different than signing a military alliance. It had a really nice effect and it also had the effect of producing a greater animosity with the United States," said Professor Gaspare Genna of UTEP.
Now that his seat is empty, Professor Genna says Venezuela's relationship with the US won't change dramatically, so long as the Chavez system remains in place. But, he says the country poses no threat to us.
"The relationship between the United States and Venezuela, under the Chavez regime, has always just been basically a war of words," said Professor Genna.
Genna, like most experts, believes it's unlikely the opposition can topple the Chavez regime in the near future.
"We've seen in other places in Latin America in which charismatic leaders leave, whether they die or what have you, but their parties remain in power because their policies have been cemented," he said.
Students here at UTEP, just like people around the world, had mixed reactions to Chavez’s passing.
Jessica Garcia said, "Of course death is bad but I think if he was just a bad guy and he was suffering, then it's best that he's out of this world. Other than that, it didn't really affect me much."
"One thing you can admire about him is that he never took anything from the US. The US is a country that usually pushes on third world countries and he never took any of that, he didn't allow them to bully him around," said Rafael Portillo.
"Personally, it really doesn't affect me but since he was an influential leader over there in his country and he did hold a lot of power, something might change," said Brian Barraza.