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Jesse Jackson Praises Hugo Chavez as ‘Great Leader’ at Funeral

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March 8 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke today in Caracas at the funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5 after a two-year battle with cancer.

“Today we’re here not because Hugo Chavez has died but because he lived.

‘‘Venezuela cries today.

‘‘To Nicolas Maduro, grant him wisdom and support as he keeps hopes and dreams alive, as he picks up the baton and makes a great nation greater.

‘‘We are neighbors, we share the same hemisphere, we play ball together, we trade resources together, we fight drugs together, we share dreams together, we are bound by culture and environment.

‘‘How do we measure a great leader? By how he treats the least of these. Hugo fed the hungry. He lifted the poor. He raised their hopes. He helped them realize their dreams. And so today we do mourn because we lost a lot. But we have a lot left: a stable government, an orderly transition.’’

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Martin in Mexico City at emartin21@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net.

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