Top news: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died Tuesday afternoon, succumbing to a long battle with cancer and bringing to a close a tumultuous political career that reshaped Latin American politics. Speaking through tears, Chavez's hand-picked heir, Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, announced the news on state television.
Capitalizing on an ingenious combination of anti-imperialist rhetoric and massive social spending underwritten by his country's huge oil revenues, Chavez placed his country's poor at the center of his political program, and with his death, Venezuela became consumed with grief. Crying supporters stammered disbelief at his death, at a loss to explain how a politician with such dynamism could be felled by disease. "I can't believe that he's dead," said Corinna Perez, a 30-year-old nurse in Caracas. "What's going to happen to us now? Chavez was Venezuela."
The country now enters what is likely to be a tumultuous political transition. Maduro will serve as interim president until new elections can be held, which, according to Venezuelan law, should take place within 30 days. The opposition candidate will likely be Henrique Capriles, a regional governor who lost to Chavez in last fall's presidential election. Barring an internal power-struggle within the Chavista movement, Maduro will be the government's candidate and attempt the difficult task of continuing Chavez's Bolivarian revolution.
Chavez leaves behind a country fraught with deep political divisions, and the path forward for the country's two political movements will be extremely difficult. A complete lack of information about Chavez's health prior to his death created a constitutional crisis of power that left the opposition incensed. Meanwhile, Chavez's death is likely to plunge his own political movement into despair, as a movement built around a personality cult has suddenly been left without its rudder. Police and army were quickly deployed onto the streets of Caracas Tuesday, but unrest still plagued the capital as the tents of anti-Chavez student demonstrators were lit on fire.
Kenya: Election authorities in Kenya have abandoned an electronic system of counting votes and are tabulating votes by hand, causing delays that are raising serious concerns about the integrity of the election. Uhuru Kenyatta, a deputy prime minister who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in orchestrating violence following the 2007 election, leads in the early returns. But delays with the system and a large number of void ballots are making it likely the eleciton will head to a run-off.
- The number of refugees who have fled Syria now exceeds 1 million, U.N. officials announced.
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States supports efforts by other countries to send arms to Syrian rebels as long as they are channeled to U.S.-approved factions.
- The final major report from the Iraq special inspector general found that the $60 billion American aid effort in Iraq focused excessively on large projects that were never completed, failed to account for Iraqi needs, and included large amounts of wasteful spending.
- China's government said that it would work to improve the country's environment and improve public services in a statement of the priorities of the country's new leadership delivered at the Communist Party congress.
- The South Korean military said that if seriously provoked by North Korea, it would strike at its northern neighbor's "command leadership," a major escalation in rhetoric on the Korean peninsula.
- The Pakistani military denied that it had tried to use the U.S. drone program in the country in order to provide cover for one of its own military operations.
- The U.N. human rights chief condemned a series of attacks on people with albinism in Tanzania that included the killing of a young boy.
- The father of Oscar Pistorius said that his son needed several guns because of the government's failure to protect whites against crime, comments from which the Olympic athlete accused of killing his girlfriend is distancing himself.
- An attack carried out by the Islamist group Boko Haram left eight dead in Nigeria's north; meanwhile, the country's top spiritual leader appealed for an amnesty deal for members of the group.
- European anti-trust regulators fined Microsoft $731 million for failing to provide its user with a range of choices in which web-browser to use.
- Britain failed to secure support within the European Union to water down strict rules set to take effect that will severely limit bonuses paid by banks to their employees.
- A dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet admitted to hiring two men to carry out an acid attack on the company's artistic director, according to Russian police.
- A Dominican judge ruled that he must hear testimony from U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and his associates before ruling on a motion to protect from arrest a woman who says she was offered cash in exchange for claiming that she was paid to have sex with Menendez.
- A highly anticipated human rights trial began in Argentina that will investigate allegations that Latin American dictators conspired with one another during the 1970s to arrest, torture, and silence their leftist critics.
- A British firm was fined for exporting and illegally dumping waste in Brazil.
JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images