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Crisis-hit Venezuela pays tribute to Chavez, two years on

People hold a portrait of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during a ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of his death in Caracas on March 5, 2015Fireworks lit up the dawn skies as Venezuela paid tribute Thursday to leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez two years after his death, but the movement he founded faces its worst approval ratings ever amid a deepening economic crisis. The national homage included an “anti-imperialist tribunal” organized by Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, with glowing tributes coming in from regional allies, notably Cuba, as well as from Colombia’s FARC rebels. The commemorations come as Chavez’s hand-picked successor, President Nicolas Maduro, struggles to revive the recession-hit economy and address chronic shortages of basic goods ahead of key legislative elections this year.

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