Originally published 03/05/2013
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela died Tuesday afternoon after a long battle with cancer, the government announced, leaving behind a bitterly divided nation in the grip of a political crisis that grew more acute as he languished for weeks, silent and out of sight in hospitals in Havana and Caracas.His departure from a country he dominated for 14 years casts into doubt the future of his socialist revolution. It alters the political balance in Venezuela, the fourth-largest foreign oil supplier to the United States, and in Latin America, where Mr. Chávez led a group of nations intent on reducing American influence in the region.Mr. Chávez changed Venezuela in fundamental ways, empowering and energizing millions of poor people who had felt marginalized and excluded.But Mr. Chávez’s rule also widened society’s divisions. His death is sure to bring more changes and vast uncertainty as the nation tries to find its way without its central figure....