Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, speaks to the media during a press conference after speaking at the General Assembly. 24 September 2009 , Photo Credit: Courtesy of United Nations
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's government is honoring the late Hugo Chavez with a public holiday of "loyalty and love to the supreme commander" of the South American nation's socialist revolution.
President Nicolas Maduro's decree establishing Dec. 8 as a public holiday in honor of the polarizing leader is generating controversy because this year's commemoration is the same day as municipal elections. The vote is widely seen as a referendum on Maduro's seven-month rule.
The holiday commemorates Chavez's final public appearance, when the cancer-stricken leader anointed Maduro as his successor. Three months later Chavez died at the age of 58.
The decree was published Tuesday.