News / Americas

    Chavez Health Drives Venezuela Toward Uncertain Future

    Chavez Health Drives Venezuela Toward Uncertain Futurei
    X
    January 08, 2013 10:32 PM
    Venezuelans could face an uncertain future if President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering from a fourth cancer surgery in Cuba, is not able to return to Caracas soon. VOA’s Brian Padden reports that speculation about the president’s health has already sparked a constitutional debate over government plans to postpone the inauguration and the opposition calls for a new election.
    Chavez Health Drives Venezuela Toward Uncertain Future
    Brian Padden
    Venezuelans could face an uncertain future if President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering from a fourth cancer surgery in Cuba, is not able to return to Caracas soon. Speculation about the president’s health has already sparked a constitutional debate over government plans to postpone the inauguration and the opposition calls for a new election.

    In the days after winning a fourth presidential term of office in October, Hugo Chavez seemed healthy and full of life.  But since his December 11 cancer operation in Cuba, he has not spoken or been seen in public.

    Venezuela's Information Minister Ernesto Villegas issued a public statement on the president’s condition acknowledging that he has suffered complications caused by a lung infection but that his condition is stable.

    "The treatment is being applied constantly and rigorously and the patient is assimilating it," Vilegas said.

    The government’s plan to postpone the inauguration and designate Vice President Nicolas Maduro acting head of state in the interim has sparked a constitutional debate about the legality of such a move.

    Citing the constitution, opposition leaders say if Chavez is unable to be inaugurated, then National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello should take over and new elections must be held within 30 days.  

    Michael Shifter an analyst with the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington says a short delay will not likely cause a major political uproar.  But he says if Chavez does not return soon, pressure will mount to hold new elections.

    “I think there will be a lot of pressure for that. There probably is a limit, it’s very hard to be precise and [to know] what the limit is but I think if it goes on for a couple of months it’s going to be very, very difficult to sustain,” Shifter said.
     
    Vice President Maduro says the constitution allows the Supreme Court to set a new inauguration date and has dismissed speculation that Chavez is no longer fit to continue as president. But Shifter says if Chavez is incapacitated or worse the opposition needs to press for new elections without seeming uncaring of the president’s condition.

    “I think the opposition has to be careful also in dealing with the tremendous emotional factor for Chavez. It can’t seem to be heartless,” Shifter said.

    That emotional factor is at the forefront of government broadcasts of scenes of Chavez during happier times, in a seeming effort to forestall political chaos if he does not return to public life.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    More Americas News

    The Internet Comes to Cuba ... Slowly

    Smartphones prevalent, but only to make or receive calls, as mobile Internet access severely limited to certain areas; restriction has its charms, some say

    Daily Flights Between US, Cuba Planned for Later this Year

    Agreement to be signed Tuesday in Havana allowing up to 110 flights a day; US law prohibiting travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains in effect

    Cuba's Organic Honey Exports Create Buzz

    Organic honey joins list of country's key agricultural exports, as pesticide use has been linked to declining bee populations elsewhere

    Colombia's ELN Rebels Declare 72-hour Lockdown

    Move, set to begin on Sunday, will restrict transport and commerce amid signs of further delays in their efforts to begin peace talks

    Venezuelan Supreme Court Approves Emergency Powers for President

    President Maduro had asked the court for emergency powers to counteract the country's deep economic crisis

    Photogallery Pope Francis in Mexico After Historic Call for Religious Unity with Russian Patriarch

    Religious leaders sign declaration Friday after historic meeting in Cuba to heal 1,000-year-old rift between Western and Eastern branches of Christianity