China's Internet, its freest court of public opinion, crackled with praise for Chavez for standing up to the U.S. and for his socialist policies.
"Chavez and the '21st century socialism' he advocated was a big bright spot after drastic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe sunk the world socialist movement in a low ebb, and he was known as an 'anti-American standard-bearer," Zhu Jidong of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' World Socialism Research Center wrote on his feed on Sina Corporation's Twitter-like microblog service. "Mourn this great fighter."
There was no shortage of emotional farewells to a socialist hero who some feel rivaled the revolutionaries of the 1960s.
Cuban folk singer Silvio Rodriguez, whose ode to revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara became famous, used the song's title words to bid farewell to Chavez on his blog.
"Hasta siempre, comandante," he wrote, Spanish for "Farewell forever, commander."
Orsi reported from Havana, Cuba. Associated Press Writers Christine Armario in Miami, Anne-Marie Garcia in Havana, Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, Gregory Katz in London, Angela Charlton in Paris, Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin, Minh V. Tran in Hanoi, Vietnam, Rob Gillies in Toronto, Ian Dietch in Jerusalem, Ciaran Giles in Madrid, Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow, and AP researcher Zhao Liang in Beijing contributed to this report.
Peter Orsi can be reached at: http://www.twitter.com/Peter_Orsi
Raphael Satter can be reached at: http://raphae.li/twitter
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