Venezuela’s Chavez says Muammar Qaddafi is ‘martyr’
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday expressed anger over the death of Muammar Qaddafi, calling it an “outrage” and saying the ousted Libyan strongman was a “martyr.”
“Sadly the death of Qaddafi has been confirmed,” said Chavez, who had just returned to Venezuela from cancer treatment in Cuba.
“They assassinated him. It is another outrage,” the Venezuelan leader told reporters in the town of La Grita.
“We shall remember Qaddafi our whole lives as a great fighter, a revolutionary and a martyr,” he said.
Chavez had defended Qaddafi since the start of the uprising against the Libyan leader’s regime in February, and accused NATO of using the conflict to gain control over Libya’s oil.
“The saddest thing is that in its quest to dominate the world, the empire and its allies are setting it on fire,” Chavez said, referring to the United States by his preferred nickname.
Chavez has refused to recognize the new Libyan regime, and has ridiculed Libya’s new U.N. representative as a “puppet” and a “dummy.”
In 2004, Chavez was awarded the Qaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, a prize granted by the Libyan leader. Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega have also won the award.