Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro created the “Hugo Chavez Award for Peace and Sovereignty of Peoples” on Friday as an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize.
"I've decided to create the Hugo Chavez Prize for Peace and Sovereignty," said Maduro during the unveiling ceremony of a statue of the late socialist leader designed by Russian artist Sergei Kazantsev.
"I think President Vladimir Putin deserves this Hugo Chavez award,” he added, describing the Russian leader as a “fighter for peace.”
The announcement came the day after the Norwegian Nobel committee awarded Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to reach peace in his country through a deal with the FARC to end over 52 years of conflict, though it conspicuously failed to recognize the guerrillas equal efforts in the peace process. Although an agreement was reached, the public voted it down in a plebiscite Sunday.
"We have to award Colombia if they reach the peace," said Maduro, adding that the peace process has suffered a setback after the Colombians narrowly rejected a referendum on Sunday on a peace agreement with FARC.
The award will be a small-scale replica of the sculpture of Chavez by Kazantsev, located in Sabaneta de Barinas, the hometown of the revolutionary leader.