The city of Paris made anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela an honorary citizen but refused to grant an honour to Venezuela’s late leftist firebrand leader Hugo Chavez.

Mandela was “an emblematic and historic human rights figure,” deputy mayor Pierre Schapira said in a speech yesterday to a meeting of the city council that bestowed the title on the Nobel peace prize winner.

But the council refused a request from communist councillors for a place in Paris to be named after Chavez.

Schapira noted that the mayor of the Venezuelan capital Caracas had been stripped of any real power because he was an opponent of Chavez, who died earlier this month.

He said poverty had declined and access to education improved in the Latin American state under Chavez but that it was too early to agree on his legacy.

(This article was published on March 26, 2013)
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