US congressman praises Chavez in tweet

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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New York Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano wasted no time lavishing praise on Hugo Chavez in the aftermath of the Venezuelan leader’s death Tuesday.

“Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor,” Serrano tweeted. “He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President.”

Chavez’s death was announced by Venezuelan Vice President Nicholas Maduro.

Chavez, who led the South American country since 1999, had been widely criticized by human rights activists for clamping down on civil liberties and the press over his tenure in office.

Freedom House, for instance, rates the country as only “partly free” in its latest “Freedom in the World” report.

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