Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Penn attends Chavez funeral in Venezuela

Sean Penn

Sean Penn paid his respects to late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on Friday as he joined hundreds of thousands at the late politician’s state funeral in Caracas.

The politician died on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack following a long battle with cancer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sean was seen arriving at the Venezuelan Military Academy in Caracas for the service as hundreds of thousands gathered in the streets.

The Oscar-winner was known to be a vocal supporter of Hugo Chavez’s controversial administration.

In 2010 he called for the arrest of those who referred to Chavez as a dictator.

On Friday, his tone was more solemn.

“Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion,” Sean told the publication.

"I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela. Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro.”

The actor had previously appeared at a candlelight vigil in support of the politician’s health in December.

Oliver Stone, who previously voiced his support for Chavez in 2009 film South of the Border, earlier offered his condolences.

”I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place,” he said on Tuesday.

“Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history… My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned.”

Hugo Chavez served as Venezuela's president from 1999 until his death at the age of 58. He is survived by four children and four grandchildren.

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