The likelihood that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is close to death will pitch rivals against one another in a battle for power and oil riches, and trigger political shock waves across the region. — The Telegraph
On Thursday, Hugo Chavez is set to be inaugurated after his re-election, but it is reported that he may currently be kept alive with a respirator while being treated for cancer.
The Venezuelan leader and full-time hater of the United States is famous for his praise of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Jesus Christ as revolutionary socialists.
As Philip Sherwell describes in his article on The Telegraph:
The orchestra played and loyal lawmakers erupted in adulatory applause as Hugo Chavez invoked Fidel Castro and Jesus Christ as his revolutionary role models.
His right hand raised, the fiery Venezuelan leader echoed the famous call to arms of his Cuban mentor. “Fatherland, socialism or death,” he proclaimed, then added with a typical flourish: “I swear by Christ, the greatest socialist in history.” That was six years ago as “El Commandante” was sworn in for his third term as president and blew kisses to rose petal-tossing crowds when he returned in an open-topped car to his palace to watch a military parade.
The Chavez regime has been financing terrorist socialist causes with his oil money and set up an alliance with Iran.
Chavez has not been seen or heard from since he left Venezuela in December for his operations in Cuba.
The death of Hugo Chavez could set off a Constitutional struggle to control the oil rich South American country. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Constitutional law expert Carlos Ayala agreed that Chavez can be granted two oath-taking postponements for a total of 180 days in the event he is “temporarily incapacitated.” But he said Venezuelans are entitled to proof that Chavez is alive, is tending to his duties and has a positive prognosis.
“The citizenry has a legitimate right to know the facts surrounding the mental and physical condition of the head of state,” said Ayala, a professor at Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas. “If he cannot exercise his duties and obligations under the constitution, then that leads to constitutional consequences.”
If Chavez is so ill that he cannot competently carry out his duties, then he could be declared “permanently incapacitated.” That would trigger a constitutional requirement for the National Assembly president to call a new presidential election within 30 days, Ayala said.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro is the hand-picked successor of Chavez and he is reporting that Chavez is simply resting comfortably after emerging from a “delicate postoperative phase.” Maduro indicated that his inauguration could be sworn in by Supreme Court appointees of Chavez at a later date and unspecified location if still alive. Re-elected National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello puts him next inline to become caretaker president if Mr Chavez does not recover.
This has infuriated the opposition who insist on new elections in thirty days if Chavez does not take the oath on January 10th. With no even pretended separation of powers in the government, that is not likely to happen.