We’re relieved that the U.S. Department of State has officially distanced itself from Dennis Rodman, “private citizen” and good pal of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. That still leaves the troubling problem of Rep. Jose Serrano, who is not a private citizen and who quickly tweeted his praise of “Mr. President” Hugo Chavez on hearing of his death today.

Fortunately, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was able to find just the right words to mark the occasion of Chavez’ death.

Hugo Chavez was a tyrant who forced the people of Venezuela to live in fear. His death dents the alliance of anti-U.S. leftist leaders in South America. Good riddance to this dictator.

Venezuela once had a strong democratic tradition and was close to the United States. Chavez’s death sets the stage for fresh elections. While not guaranteed, closer U.S. relations with his key country in our Hemisphere are now possible.