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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JULIETTE KAYYEM

Chavez death creates risk, opportunity

The death of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has elicited so much commentary that it’s hard to believe that the charismatic, paranoid, egalitarian, totalitarian, nationalistic, anti-Semitic, hemisphere-altering, West-bashing friend of Cuba and Iran but major oil supplier to the United States died of something as distressingly human as cancer. His role in guiding a nation that became more economically compassionate to the poor, but also more violent and less democratic, is legendary. At some stage in the last decade he replaced Cuba’s Fidel Castro as the Latin American leader that North Americans loved to loathe.

Now, however, Chavez’s death creates an opportunity for the United States to finally make our relationships with our southern and Latin American neighbors less about their leaders and more about common interests and sound policies.

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