Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, from Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), spoke at the Cuartel de la Montaña monument in Caracas's traditionally revolutionary Barrio 23 de Enero alongside other Latin American leaders to pay homage to the former leader. "Today the new history begins," he said.
Bolivian president Evo Morales, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Salvadorean President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, among others, gathered at the monument to pay tribute Chavez, who died of cancer three years ago.
“With the union of all it is possible to build new prosperity, that is what we are going to see,” said Maduro. “There is no option, either we achieve it or we achieve it. Peace, union and prosperity that is the message today three years after the parting of Comandante Chavez.”
The president said that in spite of the death of Chavez, his message is still strong. “I feel Chavez more present and more alive than ever, and he generates more and more love in those who fight for the truth of America.”
Indigenous and Catholic communities joined together in a religious ceremony at the Cuartel de la Montaña, in the revolutionary neighborhood of 23 de Enero, to honor Chavez.
At 4.25 pm local time, the time of Chavez's death on March 5, 2013, a canon was fired to remember his revolutionary legacy, as his death fell at that time, March 5, 2013.
The day was also marked by international leaders, with current and former Latin American presidents paying tribute to Chavez.
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia
“As a human being, (Chavez) was a great support. As a Latin American brother, he was a great integrator. As a politician, he was an anti-imperialist who taught us to lose our fear in the face of the empire, to raise our voice to the empire with no fear.”
Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador
“You can't even imagine all the propaganda that they made against Chavez, full of slander, when in reality Chavez was an extraordinary human being. Despite being a soldier, at the end sometimes he was very naive because he trusted people so much. He was too good-natured, he gave opportunities again and again to the opposition, for them to end up once again driving the dagger into his back”
Cristina Kirchner, former President of Argentina
“We remember him, those who know that he left life for a free people, and a legacy of American unity. Hugo Chavez, remembered by his people with enormous and eternal love.”
Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua
“Chavez is the reincarnation of Bolivar. Chavez knew that revolutions cannot go alone and depart from the principle of solidarity, and this solidarity goes from sharing bread, up to moral solidarity, they all have an infinite value.”
Hugo Chavez's famous 2006 speech to the UN General Assembly, in which he denounced then-US president George Bush as "the devil".