Archive for January 11th, 2013

Viaja Nicolás Maduro a Cuba; se reunirá con presidentes de Argentina y Perú

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
Milenio Diario

Caracas • El vicepresidente venezolano Nicolás Maduro dijo hoy que en las próximas horas viajará a Cuba, donde se encuentra internado el mandatario Hugo Chávez tras ser operado en diciembre pasado, por cuarta vez, del cáncer que le aqueja.

Maduro señaló en un acto público que en La Habana se reunirá con los presidentes de Argentina, Cristina Fernández, y de Perú, Ollanta Humala, quienes viajaron a la isla para expresarle su apoyo a Chávez y al gobierno venezolano.

Las autoridades cubanas y venezolanas le advirtieron a Fernández y Humala que es muy probable que no puedan acceder a Chávez debido a su delicado estado de salud, por lo que sólo podrían saludar a los familiares del gobernante que se encuentren en La Habana.

El vicepresidente indicó en una actividad de la Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela que en el marco de este viaje a Cuba le entregará a Chávez “las buenas nuevas de un pueblo ... Read More

Obama needs to put brakes on overtures to Chavismo

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Foreign Policy

Even as Venezuela plunges into a constitutional crisis over Hugo Chávez’s missed inauguration yesterday, State Department officials evidently think its still an ideal time to continue pressing for a normalization of diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan government, whoever that may be.

Ever since my colleague, former Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, disclosed last month (and at Foreign Policy here) that high-ranking department officials had begun discrete talks about exchanging ambassadors with Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuelan Organization of American States Ambassador Roy Chaderton in November, department officials have begun to speak openly (here and here) about the effort and have shown no indication that recent events in Venezuela have dampened their enthusiasm.

Indeed, they have even doubled down on it and are now presenting their overtures as a way to get ahead of the post-Chávez curve, given the increasing likelihood that the firebrand populist will never return to power. That way, in the words of the Washington ... Read More

Cancer-stricken leader of Venezuela should resign

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Globe and Mail-01

If Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s President, is so ill that he cannot attend his own inauguration for a fourth term in office, then he should do the responsible thing, and resign. The Jan. 10 ceremony is not just a technicality, but a political obligation spelled out in the constitution.

Even if the National Assembly and ultimately the courts have approved Mr. Chavez’s absence, Venezuelans deserve better.

Normally a constant presence in print, broadcast and social media, Mr. Chavez, 58, has not spoken publicly since his fourth surgery for cancer on Dec. 11 in Havana. He has not clarified what kind of cancer he has, or what his prognosis is. Medical updates reveal only that he is recovering from a “respiratory insufficiency” following a severe lung infection. Such is the mystery surrounding the illness that there are rumours circulating that Mr. Chavez has already expired, and that his immediate supporters are attempting to suppress ... Read More

Ecuador to maintain foreign policy, ties with Iran: Patino

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
Press TV

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has reaffirmed his country’s determination to maintain its foreign policy and continue bilateral ties with Iran and other friend countries despite disagreements by the US.

A recent US legislation aimed at countering the Iran-Latin America ties will not affect Ecuador’s relationship with Iran, Prensa Latina news agency quoted Patino as saying in an interview on Thursday.

On December 28, 2012, US President Barack Obama enacted the law to counter Iran’s growing relations with the Latin American countries. The so-called Countering Iran in Western Hemisphere Act requires the US Department of State to develop a strategy within 180 days to “address Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity” in Latin America.

The Ecuadorian minister decried the US legislation and said Washington believes that when it breaks off relations with a country, the rest must also follow suit.

He emphasized that Quito would proceed with its relations with Iran, China, ... Read More

Venezuela vice president faces leadership test

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
From the Los Angeles Times


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has kiddingly called Nicolas Maduro “the bus driver” in reference to his former role as a union leader and mocked his voracious consumption of submarine sandwiches.

But the cancer-stricken Chavez, flush from his resounding reelection victory last year, clearly thought highly of Maduro, naming him vice president in October.

Now, with Chavez recovering from surgery in Cuba, Maduro in effect must be taken seriously as the president’s anointed successor.

Thursday was to have been Chavez’s inauguration day, the beginning of his fourth term. Instead, it was a coming-out of sorts for Maduro, 50, who finds himself at least temporarily in charge of this nation of 29 million people.

Tens of thousands of red-shirted Chavez supporters gathered in downtown Caracas for a “non-inauguration” ceremony and heard from the vice president.

“Last night I couldn’t sleep. From 3 or 4 in the morning until daybreak,” Maduro told the crowd, saying ... Read More

Venezuela In limbo

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Economist

FOR a month Hugo Chávez has been lying in a hospital bed in Havana after undergoing his fourth operation since 2011 for cancer. Most of the facts Venezuelans have been given about their president’s condition have been sparse and contradictory. But the information minister recently declared that the patient faced “complications as a result of a severe lung infection” and a “respiratory insufficiency”. This hardly suggests that Mr Chávez is likely soon to be restored to full health; rather, he may well be dying.

Mr Chávez’s incapacity poses a constitutional problem for Venezuela, and a political problem for the whole of Latin America. He was due to be sworn in as president on January 10th, but his inauguration was postponed. Fortunately Venezuela’s constitution, which Mr Chávez pushed through in 1999, provides for such a situation. It says, in a nutshell, that if the president-elect’s incapacity is permanent, the head of the ... Read More

Expect a stealth leadership struggle in post-Chavez Venezuela

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
From the Los Angeles Times


Chavismo is alive and well in Venezuela, which is more than can be said with confidence about the man who inspired it.

President Hugo Chavez remains so ill and incommunicado a month after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba that he missed his inauguration Thursday, setting off new political disputes over whether he is still the legitimate head of state.

Supporters of the once-larger-than-life former paratrooper nevertheless poured into the streets of Caracas to dance and declare their loyalty — a demonstration, Latin America analysts say, of the enduring legacy of a president whose social welfare programs halved the poverty level and dramatically narrowed the gap between rich and poor.

Though often viewed abroad as a one-man show, with his barnstorming campaign style and populist savvy, Chavez nurtured a new generation of political leaders within his United Socialist Party of Venezuela who observers expect will keep the momentum going for programs to improve healthcare, education and housing.

Still, the ... Read More

What Happens to Venezuela After Hugo Chavez?

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Atlantic


For years, Cubans have speculated — evidently incorrectly – that Fidel Castro’s death has been covered up by his brother Raul. With state media so tightly controlled, there is no way of knowing — but though the rumors may quiet, they never really stop.

Two spectral leftists may soon haunt the island. When Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez flew to Cuba on December 10 for cancer treatments he claimed he no longer needed, the media lost insight into his condition. Media reports say he chose treatment in Cuba over a state-of-the-art Brazilian hospital so he could better control the flow of information about his condition.

Still, some details have slipped out. On January 3, outlets reported that senior Venezuelan officials had flown to Cuba to be at the ailing leader’s bedside. On Tuesday night, the AP formally reported that Chavez would not attend his inauguration in Venezuela. The government is arguing that this development has ... Read More

CARDENAS: State Department picked a bad time to cozy up to Venezuela

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

More than a decade’s worth of Hugo Chavez gutting his country’s democratic institutions and centralizing power in his person has led to the present turmoil in Venezuela, where just who is the country’s constitutional leader is no longer clear. According to the Venezuelan constitution, Jan. 10 was the day Mr. Chavez was to be sworn in for his fourth presidential following his re-election last October. However, he remains sequestered somewhere in a Cuban hospital recovering from reportedly his fourth cancer surgery and hasn’t been seen or heard from since Dec. 8.

Again, according to the Venezuelan constitution, if the president-elect is unable to take the oath of office by Jan. 10, then power is to be transferred to the next-in-line in succession, the president of the National Assembly, currently former military man Diosdado Cabello. Yet, this week, the Chavez-packed Supreme Court decided that his swearing-in could be postponed “indefinitely,” meaning that ... Read More

Noriega on Venezuela Transition (Video)

| January 11th, 2013 | No Comments »

Bloomberg’s Susan Li speaks to Roger Noriega, former U.S. ambassador at the Organization of American States, about Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President’s, health

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