The city was quiet after the country learned President Hugo Chávez, the bombastic anti-American socialist who was a hero to the country’s poor, died Tuesday.
People gathered in front of the military hospital in Bolivar Plaza where he was said to have died at 4:25 p.m. Some held photos of the president, tears in their eyes.
As night fell, hundreds could be seen holding a march on a downtown street. Banners called Chávez, “Our liberator.”
Chávez, 58, died from cancer, though it was never publicly known what kind. Vice President Nicolas Maduro’s voice broke and tears ran down his face as he appeared on national television to announce that Chavez died after a two-year illness.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua declared that elections would be called in 30 days. He said Maduro would be the candidate for the government, and the vice president would serve as interim president.
The Associated Press reported that an elaborate funeral is planned for Friday.