MONTEVIDEO, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Late president Hugo Chavez has left Venezuela a socialist legacy to be carried on by the new leadership, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica said Monday.
"We are going to witness a process of Chavism without Chavez ... which is going to lead for a long time," Mujica told local daily La Republica.
The Chavez-style socialism will continue in Venezuela because unlike specific ideas and programs, the movement has "a huge mystique" that the people can hardly debate, he said.
"They not only have concrete reasons and facts to defend, such as the enormous social progress made, there is also a nation that is committed to the cause," said Mujica.
A close ally of Chavez, Mujica was one of the first regional leaders to arrive in Venezuela's capital of Caracas following Chavez's death last Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer.
The Uruguayan president added that the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) "will not suffer fundamental changes" despite losing one of its main supporters.
Last year, Venezuela joined the regional trade bloc, which also comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, after much campaigning by Chavez, a chief proponent of regional integration.
"Venezuela needs Mercosur and Mercosur needs Venezuela," Mujica said.
"We have to continue working to get as close as we can in the region, because the world tends to organize itself in blocs and we can't be the exception," he said.
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