Harper on Tuesday offered condolences to the people of Venezuela but not the family of the flamboyant leader who died on Tuesday after fighting a prolonged battle against cancer. He also said in his short statement that he hoped the death of Chavez would ensure a promising future for the people of Venezuela based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Harper also said that he was expecting to work together with
Chavez's successor and other leaders in the region.
A day after the Canadian government issued the statement, Caracas reacted by sending a ‘card of protest' to Ottawa's insensitive remark at a time when the entire Venzuela was mourning the death of the leader.
Vice-minister for North America Claudio Salerno said Caracas protested the Canadian PM's words "in blunt and categorical way".
Harper had been a critic of Chavez's world views and felt the latter symbolised the leftist leaders in the western hemisphere who were opposed to good economic policies and wanted to reverse the progress made in terms of democracy.
The Venezuelan government hit back at Harper, saying it had chosen its socialist destiny freely and democratically.