News / Americas

Venezuela Opposition Wants 'Whole Truth' on Chavez

A man walks past a mural of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Jan. 2, 2013.
A man walks past a mural of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Jan. 2, 2013.
Reuters
— Venezuela's opposition on Wednesday demanded the government tell "the whole truth" about the health of cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez, who has not been heard from in three weeks after undergoing a grueling operation in Cuba.
 
Officials have acknowledged the usually garrulous former soldier's health is delicate after his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months, but have offered scant details on his condition.
 
He has not spoken in public in more than three weeks.
 
Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, secretary general of the Venezuela's anti-Chavez coalition, the Democratic Unity Table, Caracas, Oct. 2011 (file photo).Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, secretary general of the Venezuela's anti-Chavez coalition, the Democratic Unity Table, Caracas, Oct. 2011 (file photo).
x
Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, secretary general of the Venezuela's anti-Chavez coalition, the Democratic Unity Table, Caracas, Oct. 2011 (file photo).
Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, secretary general of the Venezuela's anti-Chavez coalition, the Democratic Unity Table, Caracas, Oct. 2011 (file photo).
Ramon Aveledo, head of the opposition Democratic Unity coalition, slammed the government for not keeping its word about keeping Venezuelans informed.
 
"The official version [of Chavez's health] hides more information than it gives," Aveledo said at a press conference.
 
"The vice president himself has promised to tell the truth, whatever it is. Fine, he should tell it. He should tell the whole truth," said Aveledo.
 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, with his then Foreign Minister and current Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Miraflores Palace, Caracas (undated file photo).Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, with his then Foreign Minister and current Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Miraflores Palace, Caracas (undated file photo).
x
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, with his then Foreign Minister and current Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Miraflores Palace, Caracas (undated file photo).
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, with his then Foreign Minister and current Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Miraflores Palace, Caracas (undated file photo).
Chavez last month designated as his heir apparent, on Tuesday said in an interview from Havana that Chavez had recognized the complexity of his post-operative condition.
 
Maduro said he was returning to Venezuela after several days visiting with Chavez and his relatives, which may quell rumors his trip to Cuba signaled the president was in his final days.
 
Chavez's abrupt exit from the political scene would be a shock for Venezuela, where his oil-financed socialism has made him a hero to the poor majority but a nemesis to critics who call him a dictator.
 
He is still set to be sworn in on Jan. 10, as laid out in the constitution. If he dies or steps aside, new elections would be held within 30 days, with Maduro running as the Socialist Party candidate.
 
Health status in question

Chavez suffered unexpected bleeding and a respiratory infection after a six-hour operation on Dec. 11. Terse official statements have said nothing about when he might be expected back or whether his life is in danger.
 
The government has provided none of the signature videos or pictures released after Chavez was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011 and his relapse in 2012. And allies have refused to discuss the possibility that he could hand over power or resign.
 
Chavez last year staged what appeared to be remarkable comeback from the disease to win reelection to a third six-year term in October despite being weakened by radiation therapy. He returned to Cuba for new treatment within weeks of his win.
 
Officials from the ruling Socialist Party are now suggesting his inauguration could be postponed indefinitely to accommodate his health.
 
Aveledo insisted the government should stick to the Jan. 10 timeline called for in the constitution.
 
"Trying to make the country believe that the president is governing is absurd to the point of being irresponsible," he said. "January 10 marks the end of one presidential term and the start of another. As such, there is no continuation of the current government."
 
Aveledo said if Chavez cannot make it back in time, he should hand power over to the president of Congress — who would temporarily run the country while elections are called.
 
Congress, controlled by Chavez allies, on Saturday elects a new president. Current Congress chief Diosdado Cabello, a close Chavez ally who could be reelected to head the legislature, has at times been considered a rival of Maduro. The two have taken great pains in recent weeks to publicly deny this.
 
While the constitution cites Jan. 10 as the start of the new term, it does not establish what happens if the president does not take office on that date.
 
Chavez's condition is being watched closely by Latin American countries that have benefited from his generous assistance, as well as Wall Street investors who are drawn to Venezuela's lucrative and heavily traded bonds.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Argentina Defaults Again on Debt

Negotiators failed late Wednesday to reach an agreement with New York investment companies to avert the default
More

Cameroon’s Coffee Farmers Blame Government for Production Drops

Cameroon's growers, dealers and experts mourn declines in a nation that once ranked 12th in the world.
More

Argentina, US Creditors Fail to Reach Deal; Default Imminent

This will mark the second time in 13 years Argentina has defaulted on its debt
More

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Officials grapple with ways to deal with problem, provide shelter for thousands of minors among illegal border crossers
More

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Legal school segregation ended in the US 60 years ago, but research project finds it still occurs based on income and race
More

Cuban Tourism Industry Stalls in 2013; Up 3.9 Percent Through June

Statistics seen as latest indication of general slowdown in country's economy
More