President Hugo Chavez has been “recuperating” from his fourth (over 18 months) Cancer Surgery in Havana–since early December. The quotes are because there are real questions about “El Presidente’s” health–is it improving, or is he terminal and, perhaps, sliding fast? The last Presidential Election was moved up, from December to October, potentially due to his health condition.
According to the Venezuelan Constitution, the President is mandated to to take the Oath of Office tomorrow, January 10th. However, Chavez is still in the hospital, in Havana, and is not expected to leave anytime soon. Otherwise, a new election must be held within 30 days. Over his 13 years as President, there were no other key assistants with any visibility in his Administration.
As President Hugo Chavez was leaving for Havana, in December, he named Nicolas Maduro as his Vice President, and asked the Venezuelan People to vote for Maduro if there had to be a New Election. Currently, the “Chauvinists” (as his Socialist Party is called) are trying to find ways to keep Chavez in Power–at least for the near term until it can be determined as to whether he will be able to resume his Office. Attorney General Cilia Flores, Maduro’s live-in girlfriend, proclaimed that Maduro would assume the President’s duties temporarily. Also, the Supreme Court, basically packed with Chauvinists, ruled that the Swearing-In could be delayed until Chavez returns.
If it wasn’t creating so much anxiety in Venezuela, one might suggest that this situation would make for a great novella; however, it is a very dangerous situation. Some in Caracas are wondering if the Castro Brothers–primarily Raul–are really running Venezuela. Who knows?
Chavez has regarded Fidel Castro as his Mentor for quite some time. Cuba has sent doctors to Venezuela and Chavez has sold sizable amounts of Oil, to the Island Nation, at very favorable prices. So, would Venezuela continue the Oil shipments if Chavez was no longer in charge? Or, might some of the neighboring Socialist Countries join the struggle for control>
And, let’s not forget the Opposition, which probably lost the last Election due to Hugo Chavez’ give-aways to the Working Class. Enrique Caprilles, the Governor of Miranda State, who was second in that Election. might be the best person to replace Chavez if an Election is held. Nicolas Maduro has no experience in actually running a Country.
For the last Election, all of the potential Opposition Candidates agreed to support the winner of their “Primary” Election. If there is another Election, however, it remains uncertain as to whether they would work together again, or fight each other in the Final Election. Usually, that works best for the Government’s Candidate, which would be Maduro.
This could potentially be a dangerous situation; however, I would ask my former clients from Caracas to add any Comments or Corrections; because, they obviously have a better read on this situation than I do.