Rangel's political activity began at age of 16 as a member of the Democratic-Republican Union (URD) party. He showed an active opposition to the military coup that overthrew President Romulo Gallegos in 1948.
After the fall of dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez, he returned to the country in 1958. Representing the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), Venezuela's Communist Party (PCV), and People's Electoral Movement (MEP), he was elected to Congress for five consecutive terms.
He was appointed Foreign Affairs Minister (199-2001), Defense Minister (2001-2002), and Vice President (2002-2007) by former President Hugo Chavez. He became the first civilian to hold the Defense portfolio in the country's history.
La vida de nuestro hermano José Vicente Rangel es un ejemplo de lucha permanente por los ideales de justicia e igualdad. Sé que vivió a plenitud cada etapa, y nos enseñó mucho en este largo y complejo camino de transformación. Hoy cambió de paisaje un amigo y un maestro. QEPD pic.twitter.com/SzozCHWEZc
The meme reads, "The life of our brother Jose Vicente Rangel is an example of the permanent struggle for the ideals of justice and equality. I know he lived through each stage to the fullest, and he taught us a lot in this long and complex journey of transformation. Today a friend and a teacher changed his landscape. Rest in Peace."
Rangel was born in Caracas in 1929 and graduated from Law at the Santiago de Compostela University in Spain.
He received a replica of liberator Simon Bolivar's sword in recognition of his work and was awarded the National Journalism Prize for his legacy as a communicator, researcher, and writer.
"Rangel was a brave and consequent man. He fought tirelessly for justice and human dignity. He never failed us... his love for his country always guided the way," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza twitted.