Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (R) shakes hands with former US president Jimmy Carter 26 January, 2004 in Caracas. (EGILDA GOMEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
ATLANTA (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter is remembering Venezuela's Hugo Chávez as a bold leader who forged a personal connection with supporters.
The Venezuelan president died Tuesday of complications associated with cancer in his pelvic area. He was 58.
Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter issued a statement extending condolences to Chávez's family. Carter says he met Chávez during his 1998 presidential bid, was invited to observe Venezuelan elections and returned afterward to facilitate dialogue during political conflict between 2002 and 2004.
Carter says that although he did not agree with all the methods Chávez used to bring change, he hopes Venezuelans remember Chávez's positive legacies- especially "gains made for the poor and vulnerable."
He said he hopes the Latin American country's leaders will now seek a consensus "that ensures equal opportunities for all Venezuelans to participate in every aspect of national life."
(The Associated Press.)