OTTAWA - Venezuela has sent a formal protest to the Canadian government for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's "insensitive" remarks on the death of President Hugo Chavez.
Harper issued a statement that offered "condolences to the people of Venezuela," but not the family of the flamboyant 58-year-old leftist leader, who died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
A statement from a senior Venezuelan government official says a "card of protest" was sent to Ottawa after Harper expressed "insensitive and impertinent sentiments" at a time when their country is grieving.
Harper said he hopes the death of Chavez brings a more promising future for the Venezuelan people.
Harper said he wants to see Venezuela build a better future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Harper also said he looks forward to working with Chavez's successor and other leaders in the region to build a more prosperous, secure and democratic Western Hemisphere.