Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Venezuela Under Hugo Chávez

While on Feb 15  2013 - after two months... - the Venezuelan government released new pictures of Hugo Chávez (Why not a video??) including a press release about his medical condition in an attempt to invalidate Spanish ABC's claims, things are still not looking good for Hugo Chávez. Despite that he secretly returned to Venezuela yesterday (February 18th 2013) and kept completely shielded from the outside world.  Because of the seriousness of his disease many Venezuelans are still  awaiting an official declaration that Hugo Chávez is unable to exercise the functions of the presidency anymore and that therefore presidential elections will be held in the next 30 days. It looks like the government is postponing this moment of truth as much as it can. Probably to find monies to finance Maduro's election campaign and to gain time to prepare the campaign. It is a good opportunity to look back at the Chávez era. As a career military officer and a political activist (MBR-200) he led an unsuccessful coup against the Pérez government in 1992 for which he was sentenced for two years imprisonment. Never the less Chávez came legally to power as president on February 2 1999 and was elected as president three more times. He survived a (US supported) coup attempt in April 2002 and also a recall referendum in 2004 with the help of a little election fraud.

Hugo Chávez with his daughters Maria Gabriela (l) and
Rosa Virginia (r) and reading a Cuban Granma newspaper
of thursday Feb 14, 2013. Photo released Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
by Venezuelan Miraflores Presidential Press Office

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The End Of The Chávez Era?

President Chávez hasn't been seen or spoken publicly since that sudden departure to Havana on Dec. 10 2012. Former Vice President Elías Jaua recently said the president has overcome complications including a severe respiratory infection following his Dec. 11 surgery for recurrent cancer in "his pelvic region". The silence for over two months now of a president who used to speak on television almost every day, has led many Venezuelans to wonder why he is unable to say at least a few words to the country by phone. No pictures or even letters or tweets from his hand have been published either. One has to fear that Chávez' condition is far worse than everyone expected.