The extremist left wing Venezuelan political activist Lina Ron has died of a heart attack at the age of 53. Ron was a loud-mouth supporter of President Hugo Chavez and led street protests that often resulted in violence. Coarse and uneducated – with trademark cheap dyed blonde hair - Ron was known as a violent rabble-rouser during her latter years. She shared Chavez' and Fidel Castro's ability to talk nonsense nonstop for many hours.
Ron was an embarrassment to Chavez, declaring “with Chavez everything, without Chavez bullets”. Yet Ron was useful for Chavez in that she and her allies would regularly intimidate members of the Venezuelan opposition while government officials publicly distanced themselves from her.
In 2009, a court upheld criminal charges against Ron including assault and illegal use of a firearm for her role in an attack in which her group hurled tear gas canisters at the studios of the television station Globovision. She also led a group that stormed and temporarily occupied the offices of the Vatican's representative in Caracas in 2008.
In an earlier protest that drew widespread criticism, she burned a U.S. flag shortly after the September 11thAl Qaeda attacks on the US in 2001.
She was the founder and leader of a small left-wing party, the Venezuelan Popular Union (UPV), which later joined Mr Chavez's Socialist Party. It was not very popular. It will likely die with her.
Ron once described herself as the "ugly part" of the revolutionary process. For once, she was not wrong.