Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Has Hugo Chavez said goodbye to the world?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said goodbye to his people and flew to Cuba, where he will undergo his fourth tumor removal surgery. If Chavez does not return to his duties in a month, there will be new election. The President named his preferred successor - Vice-President and Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro.

The Venezuelan Government has unanimously approved the departure of President Hugo Chavez to Cuba, where he will undergo his fourth surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in the pelvic area, diagnosed in June of 2011. An extraordinary plenary session of the Parliament was held following the 58-year-old President's public announcement that he had new cancer cells in his body. 

This would allow Chavez to be absent without renouncing his presidential powers. His leave of absence will be in effect for 30 days because he has not yet been sworn in for the third presidential term. On January 10, if Chavez does not show up for the inauguration, a new presidential election will be scheduled. According to the Constitution, this month his routine duties will be performed by the speaker of the Parliament. Had the President asked for a permission to leave for medical treatment after the oath, then, in accordance with Articles 233 and 235 of the Constitution, he could be out for 90 days with the right of Vice-President to temporary replace him. Chavez chose not to wait for a better situation, which shows how serious his condition is.

On December 8th, the President appeared on national television and, without going into details, explained that doctors insisted on a surgical emergency. For the first time he outlined the risks to his life, and named Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicolás Maduro as his successor. Chavez said it was his firm and absolute belief that Nicolas Maduro was the person his people should be voting for in the election if he is unable to perform his duties. Chavez described Maduro as a "revolutionary to the bone."

Chavez's illness became a weapon of the opposition's election campaign that has repeatedly blamed the President for hiding his dangerous illness and the fact that he had no right to run for the third presidential term given his health issues. However, on October 7th, Hugo Chavez won a landslide victory in the presidential elections for 2013-2019 term.

His rival in the presidential race, Enrique Capriles, wished Chavez recovery, however, was troubled by his desire to see a successor in office, arguing that Chavez put pressure on public opinion. Capriles said that they were not in Cuba and did not have a monarchy to appoint successors.

The reaction of Hugo's colleagues was very emotional and friendly. One of the first officials to respond was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, Ricardo Patiño. The Minister twitted that he warmly embraced President Hugo Chavez in solidarity before his big test he would undergo in Cuba. He added that he believed that the surgery would be successful, and his friend Hugo Chavez would be healthy.

Argentine President Cristina de Kirchner Fenandes in her speech at a rally at the festival for People's Democracy asked the audience to applaud Chavez who "helped Argentina when no one else did." She added that she asked for God's grace for her dear friend and comrade who gave a generous hand to Argentina. 

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera wrote on Twitter that he wished Chavez faith, strength and speedy recovery. Bolivian President Evo Morales sent a message from Spain where he was on an official visit. He said that on behalf of the Bolivian people he wanted to express solidarity and admiration, respect and love. Morales said that Hugo Chavez had won many battles, including ideological, economic ones and election, and won the first part of the battle for his life. He concluded that this was a new battle he would also win, as he had done before.

The Mexican government wished quick and full recovery to President Hugo Chavez on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. They expressed solidarity with the brotherly people and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Needless to say, the West is already making predictions and discussing Maduro. We will join the wishes of the President's friends. The Russian establishment had no reaction to the unusual situation with respect to a person who has always supported the Russian government and people on human, international and business level.  

Lyuba Lulko


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