Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a former Chairman of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee released the following statement regarding the passing of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The statement follows:

“President Chavez’s passing is an opportunity for the Venezuelan people to chart a new course and create a more hopeful future. This is a moment to review and renew our relationships with Venezuela and nations throughout the Americas based upon fundamentally shared values that bind our entire hemisphere. My sincere hope is that new days are ahead of us, and with changed leadership and a peaceful transition, a moment of fresh beginnings for the Venezuelan people will soon be upon us.”