No, Hugo Chavez is not dead, though some malware creators hoped you'd be interested enough to click on a video in the bogus news article they spammed to people in Latin America last week. Chavez has been battling cancer this past year, so some might very well have thought (or even hoped) that the story was true. But bald-headed Hugo is alive and well, cured of cancer, and raring for the next Venezuelan elections scheduled for October 2012, or so he says. Others in the know claim he won't make it to next year's election. One Venezuelan doctor, Salvador Navarrete, who claimed Chavez has only a few years left, was forced to flee the country, and is currently in hiding. Only time will tell how long he has, and why he feels the need to lie, if he is still sick, but he is still kicking, for the time being.
As for that malware email, it certainly looks legit.
It says, that government officials confirm the unfortunate death of 57-year-old Hugo Chavez after an arduous battle against cancer, that was diagnosed this year. It goes on to say, that news of the president's death had upset various world leaders who had expressed their deep felt condolences via media outlets. It also mentions that thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets, and that Chavez's adversaries had claimed that a dark stage in the history of Venezuela had come to an end.
Maybe his buddies Ahmadinejad and Fidel Castro might have been upset, but I'm not sure many others would have been too broken up over the news. That should have been a tip off, in itself.
According to Naked Security, the blog/newsroom for Sophos security software, if you had clicked on the linked website, you would have found yourself infected with the W32/Dorkbot-AM worm.
It's a good reminder to never click on any link within an email even from friends and family, unless you contact the sender. Email addresses are easily 'spoofed', and might seem as though they came from a friend. And definitely NEVER click on a link from a spam email.