BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Latin American presidents on Monday congratulated Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on winning a third six-year term to take his "21st-century socialism" through 2019.
According to Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE), the 58-year-old staunchly anti-American leftist won 54.4 percent of the vote, while Henrique Capriles, the 40-year-old rival from the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition, garnered 44.9 percent of the vote.
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez called Chavez's win a victory for all "South Americans and the Caribbeans," appealing for more cooperation in South America through the region's two largest trade blocs -- Mercosur and Unasur.
Bolivian President Evo Morales said the victory was not just for the Venezuelan people but "for the people of Latin America who struggle for their dignity and sovereignty."
In addition to congratulating Chavez, Brazil, the region's economic powerhouse, praised the opposition candidate Capriles for his swift recognition of the defeat.
"What is most important is the smoothness of the process and the fact that results were recognized by the opposition without any questioning," Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said.
Uruguay's President Jose Mujica took advantage of Chavez's win to urge regional countries to put aside differences and "unite around everything possible," regarding Chavez's government as "a Latin American government that speaks the same language as we do."
Uruguay, together with Argentina and Brazil, the other two founding members of Mercosur, made Venezuela a member of the trade bloc in August.
Cuban leader Raul Castro praised the grassroots support for the Venezuelan election, saying it "shows the strength of the Bolivarian Revolution and its unquestionable grassroots support."
More than 80 percent of Venezuela's nearly 19 million eligible voters took part in the highly contested elections.
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, a political ally of Chavez, took the opportunity to rally support for upcoming Ecuadorian elections in February of 2013, saying on Twitter that "we have to prepare for an even better victory in February. Long live the Revolution of the People!"
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Chavez's another ally, paid effusive tribute to him for being "an indisputable leader that will continue leading the Latin American Revolution."
Other countries in the region, such as Mexico and El Salvador, expressed their commitment to closer ties with the leading oil exporter in South America.