1. Chavez dies at 58. Leftist leader Hugo Chavez died from complications related to cancer, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced yesterday. Maduro implied that the U.S. had somehow infected Chavez with the illness. Chavez battled cancer for two years, undergoing a total of four surgeries. To his supporters, he was known as a strong supporter of his people populism and a staunch opponent of American influence in Latin America. To his critics, Chavez was seen as a classist dictator and wasteful spender who failed to deliver on his promise to alleviate poverty. The Wall Street Journal profiles Chavez in the documentary “Strongman,” while The New York Times looks back on 10 memorable moments in his career. Look ahead to who will fill Venezeula’s power void.
How it’s playing on PolicyMic:
On Twitter, Editor Alex Marin (@marin_alex), who was born in Venezuela, compared Chavez’s rule to a monarchy:
“The king is dead, long live the king #HugoChavez #NicolasMaduro”
Pundit Allyson Werner warned that a Maduro presidency in Venezuela could have negative consequences for the U.S. and cautions that Chavez’s death may lead to political unrest in Latin America.
2. New drone details released ahead of Brennan confirmation. Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder responded to a request by Rand Paul for information on the White House’s policy on strikes against American citizens. Holder defended the administration’s legal right to target Americans on U.S. soil but cautioned, “The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront.”
The same day, the Obama administration gave in to months of demands by Senate Democrats, and agreed to provide congressional intelligence committees with all 11 White House legal memos on drone strikes. The administration’s announcement cleared the way for the Senate intelligence committee to endorse John Brennan as CIA head by a vote of 12-3.
3. LA mayor’s race heads to runoff vote. City Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel came out on top in Tuesday’s election. However, neither candidate won the majority vote required for an outright victory. The runoff will take place on May 21.
4. American Catholics feel disconnected from Vatican. The New York Times and CBS News published the interactive results of a study on American Catholics’ relationship to the Vatican. Among the findings: 75% of American Catholics approve of Benedict’s resignation.
5. Jon Stewart taking leave of absence. The Daily Show star will take a hiatus from his hosting duties in June in order to direct a feature film, Rosewater. The film will tell the fictional story of a journalist’s imprisonment in Iran. Comedian John Oliver will fill in as Daily Show host in Stewart’s absence.
6. Music and film lovers to descend on Austin. The massive South by Southwest festival begins on Friday. NPR has a mix of 100 songs by 100 artists you should check out while you’re there. Keep an eye out for PolicyMic’s updates from the festival – correspondent Hamdan Azhar will be reporting live from SXSW.
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