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VENEZUELA
Chávez´s health becomes part of the political stage
12/16/2012
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Leader had complicated surgery in Cuba for his returning cancer.

The emergence of new cancerous cells forced Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to have a fourth surgery in Cuba on Dec. 11. As his Vice President Nicolás Maduro said, the surgery will be followed by a “hard, complex, and difficult” recovery period.

In a message to the nation, Maduro announced that although the leader had successfully overcome the surgical procedure, “the operation was complex, difficult, delicate, which indicates that the recovery process will also be a complex and hard process.” Maduro also called upon Venezuelans to be supportive during the treatment but also “to be calmly prepared to face these complex and difficult situations.”

Before travelling to Cuba, Chávez said in a message to the nation: “Nicolás Maduro should not only in this situation finish, as the Constitution demands, the [presidential] term, but my firm opinion, full as a full moon, irrevocable, absolute, total, is that in that situation that would require a presidential election, you will elect Nicolás Maduro as president.”

According to the Constitution, in the case that Chávez becomes unable to exercise his presidential duties, Maduro must finish the presidential term. Moreover, in the case that on Jan. 10 Chávez cannot take office for the new term that he was elected for on Oct. 7, the president of the National Assembly (parliament) will assume the presidency of the country and must hold elections within 30 days.

Chávez, 58, was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011, but it did not prevent him from running for a fourth term. He came to power in February 1999, and in December of that same year came into force the Bolivarian Constitution that was amended in 2009 to allow the immediate and indefinite reelection of any elected post, including the presidency. After finding out about his illness, Chávez declared his intentions to be reelected until 2031.
This situation is occurring during the regional elections of Dec. 16, in which the 17 million Venezuelans will elect 23 governors.

The opposing leader Henrique Capriles Randonski, who lost the presidential elections to Chávez and is running for reelection of the governorship of the centric state of Miranda, gave his sympathies for Chávez’s health. He denied for the moment that he would run for president in the event that Chávez could not take office.

The president’s health “was never mentioned during the [regional] campaign [because we] assume his full recovery. We continue to have the same wishes; that has not changed, that will not change. It is a humanitarian feeling that you either have or do not have, and I do have it,” said Capriles. “My hope is that Chávez will assume the presidency on Jan. 10.”
— Latinamerica Press.


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