Members of the UN Human Rights Council observed a minute's silence on Wednesday as a mark of respect for the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, even though the Council expressed concerns frequently regarding freedom of expression, an independent judiciary and arbitrary detentions in the South American country. The silence was led by the Cuban Ambassador to the UN; Cuba has announced three days of mourning for its ally, who died on Tuesday.
Ambassador Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo told delegates, "On behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean states, we wish to express our deep solidarity with the people and government of Venezuela, particularly the family members and friends of the leader Chavez."
Hugo Chavez, she added, was a "key element" in Latin America's advance towards its second independence. "He worked tirelessly not only for his people, but for the betterment of the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean."
One of the Council's vice presidents, Swiss Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, said: "We reiterate on behalf of the Council our condolences to the people and government of Venezuela at the death of Hugo Chavez."