Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned the killing of Libyan head of state Muammar Gaddafi as an “assassination” and “a disregard for human life”.

Chávez stated that Gaddafi would be remembered as “a fighter and a martyr” and opined that the conflict in Libya isn’t finished, because in the North African country “there is a people, a dignity, and the Yankee empire will not be able to dominate”.

The most lamentable thing is that in its [the US] determination to master the world, and its European allies, they are setting it alight”, he continued.

The Libyan leader was confirmed dead on 20 October 2011 by the puppet “National Transition Council,” (NTC) with images of Libyan rebels mauling his corpse rippling around the world. Gaddafi died while in the custody of the rebels, with varying accounts of exactly how he was killed.

Hector Navarro, socialist deputy of Chávez’s party in the Venezuelan National Assembly, declared that the “assassination” of Gaddafi was “a situation which cannot be permitted in the world”, and that the beamed images went against “every logic of human relations”.

Speaking on Venezuelan public television, international analyst Laila Tajeldine also explained that the “assassination” of Gaddafi, “sent a clear message to governments who oppose the United States.”

When the conflict began in Libya early this year, countries of the US-led NATO alliance recognised the anti-Gaddafi rebels, beginning with France on 10 March, and after winning a UN resolution began bombing Libya on 19 March.

Chavez backed Gaddafi and refused to recognise the rebels, criticising NATO involvement as waging an aggressive war in order to take control of Libya’s oil reserves, and a “pulverisation” of international law.

In late February Chavez proposed forming an international peace commission in order to broker a peaceful resolution to the Libyan conflict, which would involve African Union and other countries that supported this aim.

However, on 11 April the NATO-backed NTC refused to accept a peace plan from the African Union on that basis that didn’t contain provisions for Gaddafi to leave power.

Following his return in September from reportage in Libya, TeleSUR journalist Rolando Segura aired claims that over 1,800 people had been killed as a result of NATO bombing alone, and more than 50,000 as a result of the invasion and conflict as a whole.

Chavez had been a staunch ally of Gaddafi, considering strategic relations with Libya part of constructing a ‘multi-polar world’ with greater ‘south-south’ cooperation between Latin America and Africa.