Amid protests, Venezuela to remember late Hugo Chavez

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuela geared up yesterday for commemorations of socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s death despite continued protests against his successor that have shaken the OPEC member and threatened the legacy of “El Comandante.”

Even as students maintained barricades in some cities and activists held new rallies, President Nicolas Maduro’s government was making lavish plans to honor Chavez on Wednesday’s anniversary of his death from cancer.

Maduro, who announced Chavez’s death in tears to a shell-shocked nation on March 5 last year, has made preserving Chavez’s controversial legacy the guiding force of his presidency despite opposition from about half of Venezuelans. The president was to preside over a military parade in Caracas on Wednesday, followed by a ceremony at the mausoleum housing Chavez’s remains on a hilltop shantytown.

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