BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Bernardo Alvarez, a longtime ambassador to the United States who led Hugo Chavez's diplomats in staunchly defending Venezuela's socialist revolution to skeptical foreign governments, has died. He was 60.
President Nicolas Maduro led a chorus of government officials on state television expressing condolences to Alvarez, who he said died Thursday in Caracas. He gave no cause of death but said that he had been looking ill the last time they saw each other two weeks ago.
Alvarez served as Venezuela's ambassador to the U.S. between 2003 and 2010. Although that coincided with a period of deep strain in relations between the two countries, U.S. officials had long seen in the former Caracas college professor a pragmatic conduit they credited with preventing ties from deteriorating even further.