Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights

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Chávez Endgame?

[Editor’s note: a couple of readers pointed out some ambiguities in my reading of the constitutional provisions and I have clarified the wording of a couple of sentences from the original version.]

David Smilde and Hugo Pérez Hernaíz

As has been widely reported, on Saturday night, December 8, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez made a nationally televised appearance to announce that he had suffered a re-occurrence of his cancer and to designate a successor, current Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduro.

The announcement came after he had reappeared in Venezuela only 24 hours earlier. Chávez had gone to Cuba for treatment on November 27. While it was announced that he would be receiving treatment in a hyperbaric chamber to “continue his recovery,” there was a great deal of speculation that it was something much more serious since his departure was not publicized and he had not made any public appearances or even tweeted for several weeks. The rumors only increased when it was announced that Chávez would not be attending the Mercosur summit Brazil.

It seems clear that the primary purpose of Chávez’s weekend return to Caracas was to consolidate support for Maduro within the pro-government coalition and leave no doubts among the population as to who he wants to succeed him by creating a major media event. Not only did he name Maduro successor but had him swear before God, the people, the flag and Simón Bolívar’s sword, to continue the revolution.

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Filed under Venezuela Hugo Chavez Nicolas Maduro Diosdado Cabello Cancer