Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies

Hugo Chavez
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Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says President Hugo Chavez has died.

Chavez underwent a fourth cancer surgery in December, and was said to have a "severe" respiratory infection prior to reports of his death.

Chavez has ruled Venezuela for more than 14 years, gradually placing all state institutions under his personal control.

The opposition is expected to challenge a government candidate in a snap election that critics said should have been called in January, after Chavez was unable to be sworn in for a new term.

Meantime, Venezuelan officials said two Americans were being expelled from that country, including a US Embassy attaché who is accused of meeting with military officers and planning to destabilize the country.

The second U.S. official is also described as a U.S. Air Force attaché.

VP Maduro interim president

Venezuela's foreign minister says Maduro will serve as interim president in the wake of Hugo Chavez's death and that elections will be called within 30 days.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua also told the Telesur network that Maduro would be the candidate of the governing socialist party.
It was not immediately clear when elections would actually be held.
The government said Chavez died Tuesday after a nearly two-year bout with cancer.