PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent a letter of condolence to the family, the government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on the sad and untimely passing away of President Hugo Rafael ChÃ¡vez FrÃas last Tuesday.
"I received with great sadness the news on the passing of His Excellency, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias," the PM said.
"On behalf of my government and the people of Fiji, I wish to express our sincere and deepest condolences to the family, the government and the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on the sad and untimely passing of His Excellency, President Hugo Rafael ChÃ¡vez FrÃas, on Tuesday 5 March 2013."
In a diplomatic note issued to the Vice President of Venezuela,NicolÃ¡s Maduro Moros, the PM said President Chavez was a political leader who was dedicated to the service of his country and her people.
"He believed and worked towards improving the welfare and livelihoods of the poor, based on the principles of social equity, liberty, social justice and solidarity.
"He was their champion, steering the nation through rough political and economic periods," PM Bainimarama said.
"Along with improving the quality of lives of millions of people, President ChÃ¡vez proved that SimÃ³n BolÃvar's dream of regional integration could be a reality.
"He played a pivotal role in the formation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and showed the nations he could prosper and maintain national dignity, independence and sovereignty in the face of imperialist interventions."
The Prime Minister said Venezuela had lost a great and a visionary leader who was always firm in his convictions that the people of Venezuela, in particular the poor, deserved better living conditions.
"We hope and pray, your excellency, that his vision and aspirations for his people and country will outlive his departure from us all.
"I am equally convinced the impacts of his loss will not only be felt in all Latin American countries but as well as in many developing countries including my own the Republic of Fiji."
President Chazez was laid to rest last Friday.