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Statement from Ed Royce, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs:
Hugo Chavez was a tyrant who forced the people of Venezuela to live in fear. His death dents the alliance of anti-U.S. leftist leaders in South America. Good riddance to this dictator.
Venezuela once had a strong democratic tradition and was close to the United States. Chavez’s death sets the stage for fresh elections. While not guaranteed, closer U.S. relations with his key country in our Hemisphere are now possible.
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE Florida - Iraqi forces are months away from being able to start waging any kind of sustained ground offensive against the Islamic State and any similar effort in Syria will take longer, officials at the U.S. military's Central Command said on Thursday.