Venezuela will give a peace prize in honor of late president Hugo Chavez

The late Hugo Chavez, above, is inspiration for a peace prize proposed by his successor, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Story highlights

  • Venezuela's president announces the creation of a new annual peace prize named after his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez
  • President Nicolas Maduro will recommend Russian President Vladimir Putin as the first recipient

(CNN)Less than 24 hours after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the leader of neighboring Venezuela announced the creation of a new peace prize named after his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

And Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro already has his first recipient of the annual award in mind: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    Maduro said he would propose to a jury that it awards Putin the first Hugo Chavez Award for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples.
    "He is a peace fighter, a fighter of balance in the world, a builder of a pure and diverse world, a multicentered world," Maduro said in Spanish during a Friday television address while unveiling a statue of Chavez by a Russian artist.
    Putin "would be worthy of this award ... and from his heart he would hold dear forever at his side," said Maduro, who was Venezuela's vice president when Chavez died at age 58 in 2013 after battling cancer.
    Chavez, the polarizing president of Venezuela, had cast himself as a "21st century socialist" and a foe of the United States, causing tensions between the two countries.
    Russia and the United States also have strained relations. On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Russian and Syrian military strikes against civilians and medical facilities in Aleppo should be investigated as war crimes.
    Maduro said the award will be given starting this year to "global and national figures who are prominent in the struggle for peace, for sovereignty and independence, who advance humane and advanced ideas of the 21st century."
    Maduro said officials hope to get nominations of those who "represent peace in Colombia," for the jury to evaluate and award to "protagonists of the peace process in Colombia."
    "We should prize peace in Colombia if it consolidated," Maduro said.
    On Friday, Santos was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end his country's long-running civil war with FARC rebels.
    The Nobel committee made the announcement in Oslo, Norway, five days after voters in Colombia narrowly rejected a peace deal Santos' government had been negotiating for years.
    The committee, in its citation, said it gave the prize to Santos for "his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to 6 million people."
    In his remarks, Maduro said the peace process in Colombia has "suffered a setback."
    Holding the small sculpture of Chavez, Maduro said he would ask artist Sergey Kazantzev's permission for the sculpture "to be that symbol, that would be the national and global personification" of the award.
    "This will be for those who give their lives for peace," Maduro said.