On cusp of new year, Chavez's health keeps Venezuleans fixated on future
Over the weekend, the Venezuelan government informed the nation that ailing President Hugo Chavez has suffered 'new complications' from surgery earlier this month.
Dec. 31 is typically a time to recap the biggest events of the year. But in Venezuela this year, news that President Hugo Chavez has suffered “new complications” after surgery on Dec. 11 has kept Venezuelans anxiously fixated on what’s to come in 2013.Skip to next paragraph
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In downtown Caracas, an annual free concert in Plaza Bolivar to welcome the New Year has been canceled, government officials said. They instead called on Venezuelans to unite in prayer for the prompt recuperation of President Chavez, according to the Venezuelan daily El Universal.
President Chavez underwent surgery in Cuba on Dec. 11 for a recurrence of cancer. Since then, the nation has been faced with uncertainty about his chances for recovery, whether he’ll be able to attend his Jan. 10 inauguration – after winning a fourth presidential election in October – and if not, who will be Venezuela’s new president.
That uncertainty increased a notch after Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro went on television to say the following (translated into English by VenezuelanAnalysis): “Nineteen days after having undergone his surgical intervention, President Chavez’s state of health continues to be delicate; he has presented complications that are being attended to with treatment that is not without risk.”
Venezuela is, of course, not alone in looking at what lies ahead in 2013. US President Barack Obama and US Congress are scrambling to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” as they try to hammer out an agreement on taxes for the wealthy and budget cuts. And across the world, as the Monitor wrote in a round-up, nations are hoping that in 2013 they can bridge such political divides, some of them deadly. Venezuela, in hoping for more unity, was included on that list. But for now it is a nation holding its breath.
David Smilde, a guest blogger for the Monitor, told the Associated Press that the fact that Nicolas Maduro, the nation’s vice president, traveled to Cuba to personally meet with the president in recent days is itself telling. “The situation does not look good. The fact that Maduro himself would go to Cuba, leaving Hector Navarro in charge, only seems understandable if Chavez’s health is precarious,” said Mr. Smilde, who runs a blog on Venezuela for the Washington Office on Latin America.