Venezuela tries to keep it together without Chavez

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 7, 2012

Venezuela’s acting President, Nicolás Maduro, returned to his country Thursday after visiting Cuba, where Hugo Chavez was admitted last month to have surgery. Maduro continued the government’s official policy of not revealing details about Chavez’ health status while affirming that the nation is united behind the so-called Chavismo.

After five days in Havana, Maduro avoided talking about Chavez’ health when he appeared in public at a coffee factory but said that Venezuela is experiencing tough days. The vice-president said that now more than ever Venezuelan’s are together, which he labeled as a response to the information published in recent weeks about divisions within the Venezuelan government due to the prolonged absence of their president. Some media and many social network accounts even announced that Chavez had died. The Mail Online published an article citing that Chavez is alive just because he is connected to life support machines.

“We are united more than ever, Maduro said. We’ve sworn before Commander Chavez that we will be united with the largest loyalty in history,” Maduro asserted in the presence of the President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, with whom Maduro maintains a tense relationship, and the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Rafael Ramirez, another member of the executive leadership reluctant to Maduro. The vice-president also ensured people that the President will return to the country “sooner rather than later”.

“We have one single transition and it has been going on for at least six years and President Hugo Chavez is the commander of the Bolivarian revolution,” Maduro said in a ceremony in a nationalized company. “Today we have an economy in transition to socialism,” Maduro said in his first official act after traveling to Cuba last December 29 December.

Meanwhile, Cabello has endorsed the “revolutionary unity” as a top priority after the reelection of Chavez. The President of the National Assembly has warned the opposition that it will have to “wait for 2000 years” before they can cause fractures within the ‘chavismo’. “We have no doubt, we will not let any effort be wasted. Everyday there will be more revolution. Do not let yourselves be manipulated by rumors from the opposition,” he said.

On the state of Chavez, Maduro has merely reiterated its willingness to continue as head of government, which has been report number 26 on the president’s health. “President Hugo Chavez is leading the country, he is the first worker. Chavez is a man of the people who became the first soldier and worker of the Fatherland”, he said. “We arrived in Havana after visiting President Chavez taking him all the love of the Venezuelan people,” he said while being flanked by the full cabinet. Maduro has asserted that Chavez is “aware” of the situation and has again praised his “fighting spirit”. Maduro traveled to Havana with the State Attorney General, Cilia Flores, and other members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

On 12 December, Chavez underwent a “complex” surgery, which lasted six hours, where an international medical team extirpated a tumor in the same area in which another tumor had been removed. Since the last operation, Chavez has not appeared in public, nor has the government released any image or recording.

Back in June 2011, when he was diagnosed with cancer in the pelvic area, the president of Venezuela, underwent three surgeries – not counting the last one -, four cycles of chemotherapy and six of radiotherapy. Throughout 2012, Chavez faced sharp criticism from the opposition for having medical treatment in Cuba and in Venezuela as well as his prolonged absences from the country. The secrecy surrounding his cancer treatment triggered speculation about the true state of health of the president too.

Chavez won the presidential elections on October 7, earning his fourth consecutive term. However, the cancer predictably came back and is now threatening continuity in the Palace of Miraflores, so he asked his supporters to support the Vice-president, Nicolas Maduro, as his successor, in case “something happens”.

The deadline for Chavez to return to office is January 10, the day that he will have to be sworn in as president. Should this act not materialize if he is not able to make the trip back to occupy office, new elections will have to take place within 60 days. Although this scenario is denied by the Venezuelan government, Chavez’ health is very delicate.

The Venezuelan president’s situation is difficult, after undergoing a fourth operation for cancer relapse, as stated by the Uruguayan Senator Lucia Topolansky, wife of President Jose Mujica. The situation of the president of Venezuela is “complex” and the situation in general “rather unpredictable,” said the lawmaker to Unoticias.

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Will the ‘Revolution’ continue in Venezuela?

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | DECEMBER 10, 2012

The long time Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez feels that his time as chief of the government is coming to an end, so he has officially named Vice-president and Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, as the man who should occupy his post.

Hugo Chavez seems to have assumed that the cancer he suffers from will not allow him to complete or even the fourth six-year term to which he was elected on 7 October. Given this situation, Chavez addressed Venezuelans on Saturday to anoint Vice President Maduro as his successor. Minutes earlier, Chavez had announced that he would be subjected to a fourth surgery to treat a cancer that was diagnosed back in June 2011.

Chavez explained the situation of his illness: “Due to the presence of some symptoms my medical team decided to run new tests. Unfortunately, the tests revealed the presence of cancer cells in the same area affected before. So, it is absolutely necessary to submit a new surgery. ”

If the president does not survive the operation, the Venezuelan Constitution states that the vice president should take over the presidency until new elections are due. Under this assumption, Chavez said: “Nicolas Maduro not only should end the period, as mandated by the Constitution, but it is my firm opinion that he has the skills to be re-elected in the following presidential elections”.

It is the first time that Chavez openly discussed the possibility of his death and ordered his followers what to do in case he dies during or after the surgery. “I ask all the support of the people and of all streams, civil, military, under these circumstances. All support, first for the revolutionary government at this juncture and the support and unity to the decisions that have to be taken. Today we have a country, make no mistake. ”

Since being diagnosed with cancer last year, Chavez had refused to reveal the severity of their disease and the organs of the body that have been affected by it. So far, Chavez has undergone three operations, two of them to remove two separate malignancies, and received radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions. This Friday he returned to Venezuela after spending nine days in Cuba, where he received an alternative therapy called “hyperbaric oxygenation”.

After the fourth re-election of Chavez, Nicolas Maduro has become the strong man of the Revolution. In Venezuela, he has been Foreign Minister since 2006 and has been in charge of the presidency during Chavez’s most recent trip. Maduro was a bus driver and union leader and is recognized as loyal and friendly.

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