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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.
PENNE, Italy A huge avalanche swallowed up a luxury mountain hotel in central Italy after a series of strong earthquakes rocked the area, burying up to 30 people under tonnes of snow and debris, officials said on Thursday. | Video