Windhoek — President Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday hailed the late Hugo Chavez the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as a great leader for developing the socio-economic status of his people.
"It's a great loss to the people of Venezuela in particular. We join you and the people of that great country Venezuela in mourning comrade Hugo Chavez," Pohamba told Venezuelan Ambassador to Namibia, Juan Carlos Barrios, shortly after signing the book of condolences at the Venezuelan Embassy in Windhoek. Barrios said he would convey the condolences to his government.
"We have lost a great leader. People loved this great leader, he loved the people and we will continue with his legacy," Hurtado assured the president. Chavez lost his battle against cancer on Tuesday. Namibian leaders including, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab, Founding Father of the Nation, Dr Sam Nujoma, as well as diplomats from various embassies and high commissions were among many who signed the book of condolences at the embassy.
In an interview with New Era yesterday, Ambassador Barrios described the late Chavez as a living example to the people of Venezuela. "Chavez was the first president to bring down the poverty rate in Venezuela and moved to help the poor around the world," said the ambassador. A total of 18 Namibian students are currently studying in Venezuela. Martha Tau Ihuhwa, a Namibian student in Venezuela, is one of those students who paid tribute to the socialist leader at the embassy in Windhoek yesterday.
She described the late president as an exemplary leader to many, a teacher to both the rich and the poor. She also described him as a father to many nations. "It's through his revolutionary governmental work that we got a chance to pursue studies in that blessed country," Ihuhwa said. Venezuela has declared seven days of mourning and in Namibia the Venezuelan flag has been lowered to fly at half-mast until next week Tuesday. The book of condolences is also open for everyone to sign until next Tuesday. Chavez will be laid to rest today.