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The tall and imposing Nicolas Maduro stepped forward last week to be sworn in as Venezuela's interim leader following the death of President Hugo Chavez.

Before the country's packed congressional hall, he swore to complete Chavez's dream to transform the OPEC power into a socialist state, allied with Cuba and decidedly opposed to capitalism and U.S. interests in Latin America.

It's a dream Maduro says will not die, even with the death of El Comandante. Maduro told the country that he wasn't taking the oath because of ambition, vanity or because he comes from the Venezuelan elite.

The lawmakers and Chavista rank and file responded with cries of, "With Chavez and Maduro, the people are safe."

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