Jansing and Co | March 06, 2013
>>> he doing?
>>> good morning. i'm richard lui in for chris jansing . venezuelan president hugo chavez died yesterday of cancer, a fiery revolutionary, outspoken in his opposition to the united states and kinmanship with cuba's leader fidel castro . seven days of mourning were declared. all school was suspended for the week. an elaborate funeral is expected on friday.
>>> here's reaction.
>> he changed the mentality of the poor people . venezuela , it's like most of the countries in latin america , you know, we are crowded, poor people , they don't have education. they don't know, you know, who can be bad or who can be worse. he could change -- of everyone. he took power of the country. he -- so i really think again, that he deserved it.
>> more reaction from caracas, as nbc's mark potter , thanks for being with us. chavez coming to power t. the poor in the hills or the -- that ride over your shoulders. how are the poor versus others reacting today?
>> reporter: well, the poor are reacting with sorrow and i think we're going to see a lot of that very shortly. at first the reaction here was one where people were somber. a lot of people didn't believe he had died, even though he had been sick for a couple years, and the news about his condition was worsening. when he finally died. people just couldn't believe it. in part that's because of the his largest than life personality. he was 58 years old. people have a heart time with that. the quiteude we saw this morning there's an event starting just about right now. his body is going to be moved in a procession through caracas that will take hours to do it, move his body from the military hospital where le died to the military academy where he was trained long ago from the north part of the city to the society part of the city. it will take hours. the parade route is expected to be jammed, and certainly the areas where the body ends up and will lie in state. you'll see a great outpouring from the people who supported him, that's largely the poor people here.
>> mark, his hand-picked successor, the vice president, he is now in power. how much authority does he have? any sense of a transition or that the country may have lost some confident along the way here?
>> i think he has a lot of support. over time they developed a party here with a structure, so it's not just one man. they actually have did. the military says they're standing behand maduro. he is in command. he'll face the opposition candidate and we'll see what happens. but right now definitely in charge.
>>> quickly here, the oil infrastructure so important to the country. any word for the government or any sense of a change there in its capacity or ability?
>> reporter: in terms of oil, there's nothing that's been said about that. that's never really changed. all that fighting with the united states verbally still had nothing to do with the oil business . they were still selling $40 billion worth of oil to the united states . 40% of their product went to the united states . it's only 8% of what the united states takes in, but a huge part of the venezuelan economy. no indication that will change at all. and if the opposition candidate wins and is more favorable to the u.s., that could bring a change, but right now, no sense that it will change in the negative.
>>> all right. live in ka rack razz, mark potter , thanks for that.
>>> hoar at home there's hope for a better relationship. in a statement president obama said this, quote, the united states reaffirms its support for the venezuelan people and interest in developing a constructive relationship. the united states remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles , the rule of law and respect to human rights . senator marco rubio said the venezuelan people have an opportunity to turn the page on one of the darkest periods in its history and embark on a new, al bet it different path to restore the rule of law in a nation that deserves so much better. michael hirsch and "the washington post " editorial writer ruth marcus . good to see both of you again. michael, how might his death represent a different opportunity for a stronger relationship with the united states here?
>> well, he was really a unique quality. it's difficult to say what the vice president who will be interim president will do, he was very devoted to chavez , and chavezista movement. he hurled assaults at the united states , so there's no change there. but he's also said to be a less charismatic, someone more willing to compromise, so there's certainly a possibility anyway that things could move beyond the democrat gogry we have seen for the last 12, 13 years.
>> yeah, certainly not in support of the united states and trying to separate itself politically as well as economically. ruth, to you, we were just mentioning marco rubio . i also want to real this to you, from former congressman joe kennedy . he had this to say -- president chavez cared deep by about the poors of venezuela and other nations around the world. there are close to 2 million people in the united states who received free heating assistance thanks to his leadership. what's your thought in what are the political implications of chavez 's death.
>> as you were reading that statement from former congressman i was having flashback to dennis rodman 's embrace to the north korean leader. i don't think that congressman kennedy has served himself well by -- in advertising or in that statement elevating chavez . it seems to me that, look, the relationship with venezuela can't get worse than it was under chavez , but it's going to take a significantly long time to bakley let the venezuelan people sort of report what seems to me to be the mistake of chavezism. if you listen to vice president maduro, when was wack adoodle things he said, including suggesting that the united states had figured out how to give president chavez cancer, it will take a long time to get this relationship on a better track, which is why you saw the president's statement so cautious, so hesitant, so he doesn't want to dig things deeper by attacking chavez , but it is a long slog.
>> again, we will talk about what the united states should do or what it might do in dealing with this