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Worsening conditions in Venezuela hurt Chavez's legacy

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, seen in this October 19, 2010 file photo in Iran, died March 4, 2013 after a two-year battle with cancer, ending his 14-year rule of the country. In the year since taking office, President Nicolas Maduro as seena 56 percent rise in inflation, food shortages and growing opposition. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian/File Photo
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, seen in this October 19, 2010 file photo in Iran, died March 4, 2013 after a two-year battle with cancer, ending his 14-year rule of the country. In the year since taking office, President Nicolas Maduro as seena 56 percent rise in inflation, food shortages and growing opposition. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian/File Photo | License Photo

CARACAS, Venezuela, March 6 (UPI) -- One year after the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, many are worried about the worsening conditions in Venezuela and the country's future.

Chavez supporters took to the streets Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the late president's death, Voice of America reported.

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In the past year, Venezuela has seen inflation of 56 percent, shortages of food staples including cooking oil and flour, and one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Ronn Pineo, a Latin America analyst with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, said many people doubt whether Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro can keep the Chavista coalition together in the wake of Chavez's passing.

"Maduro is not that man," Pineo said. "And part of what we are seeing now is an individual who just doesn't have the same level of charisma. He's not as savvy politically."

Analyst Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue said: "A lot of the discontent extends to the people who supported Chavez. What hasn't happened is that many of those people have come over to the opposition."

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