The news that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez finally succumbed to cancer broke around 5 p.m. yesterday, early enough to make today's newspapers. Here's a look at how the story played in the region:
El Universal, Venezuela
The Venezuelan daily El Universal goes with an elegant presentation, set off with a black banner and a headline blaring "The era without Chávez begins." The top box in the left-hand sidebar teases an article about the political opposition's reaction, quoting a statement from Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chávez in last fall's election, in which he expresses condolences to Chávez's family and friends.
El Nacional, Venezuela
El Nacional presents a younger, more vigourous Chávez and highlights his military background, with the Venezuelan leader clad in a paratrooper's beret, military fatigues, and a presidential sash. Below the fold, the paper runs a photo of grief-stricken Venezuelans alongside a quote from Chávez proclaiming his willingness to uphold the principles of his revolution even at the cost of his own life.
El Mercurio, Chile
In Chile, El Mercurio leads with a forward-looking headline. The small-type title reads, "His absence plants doubts about Chavismo's ability to remain united after the possible candidacy of Vice President Nicolás Maduro, whom the deceased leader designated as his political heir."
El Tiempo, Colombia
In Colombia, which had a tense relationship with Venezuela under Chávez, the headline of El Tiempo captures the mixed emotions that many in the country are probably feeling today: "The end of the Chávez era."
Correio Braziliense, Brazil
One of the more striking designs of the day comes from the Brazilian paper Correio Braziliense, which illustrates the popular end-of-an-era trope with a Chávez-less paratrooper beret.