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"We must think about the future and how we are going to guarantee the continuity of the revolution," said Rolando Tarazon, a street vendor who was waiting with his wife to see Chavez’s body lying in state at the military academy late Thursday.
Chavez was particularly beloved by the poor, whose lot he championed. But critics say he left his successors a monumental task, with inflation of more than 20 percent a year, and public debt quadrupling to more than $100 billion. Crime is endemic and Chavez’s chaotic management style has been blamed for a breakdown in infrastructure, particularly in the key oil industry.
Yet for some lined up to see Chavez’s body early Friday, the road ahead meant continuing the late leader’s legacy.
"Chavez, we swear to you, we’ll vote for Maduro!" they chanted.
Associated Press writers Fabiola Sanchez, Frank Bajak and Paul Haven contributed to this report.
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