ECOWAS has expressed deep shock and sadness over the sudden death of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, according to an ECOWAS press statement, obtained here Saturday by PANA.
It quoted the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, as saying, in a condolence message on behalf of ECOWAS Institutions, that the region’s fraternal solidarity was with the Government and People of Venezuela over 'this irreparable loss'.
“As a well-respected World leader who fought for the liberation of his country and people, President Chavez, during his 14 years in power, distinguished himself as a true friend of Africa and pursued concrete policies that promoted South-South Cooperation,” Ouédraogo said.
He noted that one of the legacies of the improved Africa-Latin American cooperation under President Chavez’s leadership “is the 2009 Tripartite ECOWAS-Cuba-Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Agreement for the Elimination of Malaria in West Africa.”
A major step in the realization of the key objective of the Agreement, the ECOWAS Chief said, was the ground-breaking ceremony at the recently-ended 42nd Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS leaders in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, for the construction of biolarvicide factories in West Africa to boost the vector control component of the regional anti-malaria campaign.
“The death of President Chavez,” Ouédraogo said, “therefore has robbed Africa and ECOWAS in particular, of a great friend who worked tirelessly to uplift the poor and the down-trodden in society,' adding: “His death also comes at a critical time in the democratic consolidation process of Venezuela.”
He concluded: “The Community wishes to enjoin his successor and the people of Venezuela to rise up to this challenge by rallying themselves to defend those cherished values that the late President represented and which he sought to inculcate in his compatriots.”
Hugo Chávez died on 5 March, 2013, aged 58, after suffering a heart attack when he was battling cancer.
He was the President of Venezuela, having held that position from 1999 until his death.