Chavez’ Authorized To Leave Country To Seek Health Treatment

November 27, 2012

Today, in surprising fashion, the Venezuelan National Assembly authorized President Hugo Chávez to seek treatment for his ailments in Cuba, under Article 235 of the Venezuelan Constitution which says that any absence of more than five days from the country has to be approved by the Assembly. This is different than a temporal absence, in which the Vice President replaces him. (Art. 234), which Chávez has refused to do ever since he started receiving treatment in Cuba for his mysterious ailment.

According to the letter sent by Chávez to the National Assembly, he will receive treatment in a hyperbaric chamber for “oxygenation”, a treatment which according to the American Cancer Society is used for treating bone damage caused during radiation treatment or to treat infections of soft tissue which are causing necrosis. Chávez has said that he has received chemotherapy, but has never formally acknolewdged being treated with radiation, although there are rumors that this was the first type of treatment he received when the cancer was first discovered.

The timing is certainly unconventional, to say the least, as there will be important Gubernatorial elections on December 16th. So far Chávez has been absent for most of the campaign, reducing his appearances in public since he won the Oct. 7th. Presidential election, as can be seen in this graph published by El Universal today:

Notice that Chávez has been absent publicly since about fifteen days ago and now he makes no public appearance to request the leave or as he is leaving the country. Reportedly, he is unable to walk more than a couple of steps at this time. Additionally, the request to be absent from the country was approved at an ordinary session of the National Assembly to “celebrate” the 20th. anniversary of the second coup that took place in 1992 and not one scheduled for the approval sought..

There are two important considerations at this time. First, the President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello read the letter, but also announced Chávez would be here on Jan. 10th. to be sworn in as President, suggesting that he will not be here for the remainder of the campaign. This certainly will benefit the opposition, as Chávez personally will not be present to endorse his hand-picked candidates. Additionally, the electorate largely believed that Chávez had been cured from his cancer, with polls suggesting 80% of his voters believed the illness was not a factor to consider in the decision. This could benefit the opposition since the Oct. 7th. election proved once again that it is Chávez that gets out the votes and generates excitement in the Venezuelan voters.

But more importantly (or ominously) it creates a number of possible scenarios which could complicate things in the next few months, depending on whether Chávez ‘condition represents an acceleration of the cancer he is suffering. First of all, if there was an absolute absence of the President elect before he is sworn in, Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution says that the President of the National Assembly (Diosdado Cabello) will become President and elections would take place within 30 days. If the absence were to take place after Chávez is sworn in on January 10th. , then the Vice-President (Nicolas Maduro) would take his place and elections would also have to take place within 30 days. Note that Chávez would have to appear to be sworn in on Jan. 10th. in this scenario, as he has to name a new Vice-President after being sworn in.

For Chavismo, this creates a complex situation, in which the party would have to choose a candidate within days, something which would be traumatic, to say the least, unless Chávez personally designated a successor, something that so far he has refused to do during his year and a half sickness. The opposition, on the other hand, is likely to choose Henrique Capriles after his pereormance against Chávez in the recent Presidential race.

Venezuelan dollar bonds rose sharply when the news was announced today, with most issues reaching historical high values. Investors clearly were betting once again that change may be in the air in Venezuela and a more reasonable economic policy will be implemented, independent of the side that wins were Chávez to suddenly disappear from the Venezuelan political scene.

58 Responses to “Chavez’ Authorized To Leave Country To Seek Health Treatment”

  1. LD Says:

    Radiotherapy was “official” (Chávez told this was used).
    I think I heard Cabello today saying Ch. would be “seguramente” at january 10th…
    That some Polo Patriotico parties are not in line with some Ch. candidates tell he was not in control of the situation…
    Interesting times ahead I would say…

  2. m_astera Says:

    May he disappear.

  3. Bill S. Says:

    I doubt he will be ruling Venezuela too much longer. I give him about 6 more months.

  4. Dr. Faustus Says:

    “…unless Chávez personally designated a successor, something that so far he has refused to do during his year and a half sickness. …”

    First, thank you for that in~depth analysis of what the Venezuelan constitution says in the event of the death of the President.

    Second, my suspicion of an ‘insanity factor’ with regards to the lack of movement on constitutional changes after the Oct 7th election seems to be holding up. Why didn’t they, the PSUV, IMMEDIATELY change the constitution to their advantage? Behind closed doors every top tier Chavisto surely knows the truth concerning Chavez’s health. They know, yet have done nothing to derail a potential repeat Presidential election. It’s insanity! Why? Perhaps because only Hugo Chavez thinks he’s been cured of cancer, and he refuses to act otherwise, including a move to guarantee 6 years of solid Chavista rule. The inner circle guys around Chavez must be going nuts over this. It’s simply insane.

  5. Cal Says:

    The procedure is complicated by the fact that the president-elect is, at the same time, the ruling president. So, my reading of the Constitution is that, if the “absolute absence” happens before January 10, Chavez’s presidential term is still on, and Maduro would have to complete the term until January 9. Only then Maduro’s term would be over and Cabello would have to be sworn in.


  6. Cal: i have heard that interpretation too, but, My reading of president elect suggests that Diosdado would be the Guy either way confusing for Chavismo.

  7. Roger Says:

    I can’t see how any of Chavez’s 40 thieves can replace him and look and sound like jerks (foot in mouth) on TV. The infighting could cause the NA and/or the Army to move in. He’s a one man show.
    Speaking of show, the way to do this would be to run a TV show called Who Wants to be El Commandante! Contestents would have to do a hour long cadena. Semi finalists would have to do two and three hour ones as they move up to the 4 hour final round that will determine who the next El Commandante will be.

    • Bill S. Says:

      A good one, Roger. Can you imagine the investment that would pour into Venezuela if it had honest government, the rule of law, and complete protection of private property rights? Look at those little nothing countries on the west side of the Persian Gulf. And they are resource poor compared to Venezuela. It should be Dubai X 100. Instead it is like Russia, awash with natural resources with 60,000,000 people living in little uninsulated concrete boxes.


  8. It is a hard read. To me, I think the President elect route takes precedence, but I am no lawyer. Here is why: If the President and the President elect were different, the death or incapacity of the president elect triggers an election in 30 days, even if the current President has more than 30 days to serve. Thus, it would seem to me the President of the Assembly scenario takes precedence, over the VP completeting the term. .

    • Kepler Says:

      With all respect: it doesn’t really matter. Those details are for escuálidos like us.

      What is a no go – por ahora – for the normal Venezuelan voter? If Hugo would annoint his daughter or Adán as president…everything else is kosher for them.

  9. Mike Says:

    This is a treatment of symptoms, not an attempt to cure or slow down the progression of his disease. Not a good sign (well, depends…!).

  10. wanleydonat@hotmail.com Says:

    The constitution will be interpreted according to the interests of whoever has the most power when chavez dies. That simple.


  11. I think the fact that is not well defined makes it even more interesting.

  12. Ronaldo Says:

    Chavez appears to be less and less involved in the day-to-day operations of the Venezuelan government. Pain and drugs are taking him down.

    The radiation treatments likely left burns and scars on his internal organs. Side effects may be more severe if chemotherapy is used before radiation therapy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy both weaken cells.

    Late side effects occur months after radiation therapy is over. They vary by the part of the body that was treated and the dose of radiation received. Late side effects may include infertility, joint problems, lymphedema, mouth problems, and secondary cancer.

    It would be really really nice if Chavez mouth stopped working; Chavez would just be a fat man waving his arms.

  13. megaescualidos Says:

    Rocio San Miguel said that he went to “help” with the dialog between FARC and Colombian government…

    • syd Says:

      I’d buy this. Frankly, I think Ch is doing a combo trip by also attending to a medical follow-up. He will keep us guessing on his health issues, who knows, for years, perhaps. Only Bocaranda knows … not really.

  14. Chinchilla Says:

    If human values are put before political preferences, we should all pray for Chavez’s recovery.

    • LD Says:

      I put that in perspective, the wellbeing of a person vs. the human rights of millions of them.

    • loroferoz Says:

      And that he RETIRES to recover his health. Which he should have done a year ago. But no! You let him, or rather encouraged him to commit suicide. Now it’s going to be a slow death for him, and no amount of prayer is going to stop it or spare him suffering. The eye is out, prayers to Santa Lucia are useless.

  15. 999 Says:

    If he dies now, he’ll beat Carlos Andres to the new mausoleum. On the other hand, a delayed demise might cause a Mussolini/Ceaușescu effect making his remains not fit for such a magnificent work of art. On still another hand, if he is made to die in Havana, maybe he’ll bring back with him the local undead to lie near him in the new mausoleum (forget Bolivar, leave him where he is).

  16. firepigette Says:

    Roger, This stuff is so repulsive, Caramba!

    Sad to see as well.One thing is to have a strong metaphysical tendency which I always saw in Venezuela – most of which was quite harmless and maybe even beneficial ( appearances of virgins, invisible doctors, etc) but this voodoo type stuff in my opinion is just dark.

    I guess it is a sign of the depths to which the country has sunk.Nevertheless I truly believe that after the dark night come the dawn, but it is a question of how long it takes for Venezuela to sink to its lowest acceptable point before people begin to react.

  17. firepigette Says:

    Sad to see how low Venezuela has sunk Roger.

    But I still believe that after the dark night comes the dawn.We just don’t know how low the country has to sink before people begin to react.

  18. LuisF Says:

    My mom commented yesterday naively, that CH will die exactly in 2 weeks and 4 days. Just like JVG before him, his death will come to coincide to the famous December 17th milestone…

  19. Johnfrommass Says:

    I was so disappointed when “he” got re-elected. This news truly made my day! Hope the cancer does its job!

  20. Jose Alberto Says:

    Hey, this is a serious, or THE most serious blog about Venezuela, lets stop one second and be at the altura of the acontecimientos andbnitbwish openly death to anyone, lets take example of the maturity displayed by HCR on this subject. Would i like to see this situation trigger a political change? You bet, however i am not openly wishing death to anyone.

    • Kepler Says:

      I second this statement, as disgusting as Chávez is.

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        As far as I can tell few people in the Venezuelan opposition want the human being dead, they want the Chavez the politician gone. Since he refuses to step down and focus on his health, he’s unfortunately insured this cancer will be the thing that takes him out of the political scene. For most people, that’s not the same thing as wishing him pain or death, but just a factual analysis that he will poison politics so long as he is alive since his ego allows nothing less.

        I’d also point out, the person who posted here wishing his death is “from Mass (Massachusetts)” so I don’t think this is the case of embittered Venezuelans, rather a foreign Venezuela follower making an off the cuff remark.

    • deananash Says:

      Sorry Jose (and Kepler), but it seems that honorable people can disagree. I wish Chavez a speedy meeting with his maker. As far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better. Ditto for Castro and all the rest of the world’s brutes.

      The millions, nay billions of humans who have suffered at the hands, minds and egos of these and their ilk deserve no less.

      Death to tyranny. Like John Hancock before me, I’ll proudly sign my name: Dean A. Nash

      • firepigette Says:

        Good for you Dean, and your honesty.There are too many people out there only trying to show ” correct emotions”. I have even heard the Dalai Lama say something similar.I don’t actually wish his death( don’t know why either), but I do admit that it is probably the best for all, even for him.And if he does die I will feel a relief, and think that for once millions of people might have a change at life.

        I am so sick of the thought police, who think that thinking something different is a crime.Honorable people do disagree.

        • liz Says:

          Thanks Cerdita and Dean. My thoughts exactly. Well, I’m with Dean in the subject of wishing…
          Maybe Jose Alberto and Kepler are better persons than me, or simply left the country too long ago; to understand the things we have to endure while living in this Tierra de (des)Gracia.


    • No le deseo el mal, le deseo un bien a la humanidad, which is that Chavez dies soon. I bet that if you were a relative of Afiuni, Brito etc you would change your way of thinking and wish for Chavez’s death. Evil man he is

      • LD Says:

        and a couple of syrians may think the same yet…
        If we hope or not for his dismiss it changes nothing, but what he does may decide about death or live not only for venezuelans…


  21. I can not have compassion to someone who has shown none for anyone over the last 14 years and has done exactly the opposite, shown no remorse for deaths of innocent people who have been killed erronously or repressed by his police forces or jailed simply for spite.

  22. kk Says:

    I do not second the statement nor do I have sympathy for HCF. His demise couldn’t have been timelier and without bloodshed. There will be new opportunities for “democracy”

  23. kk Says:

    to understand Chavez you need to understand behavioral disorders such as narcissism

  24. kk Says:

    I’m referring to narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) but he has been labeled histrionic narcissist by Dr Jerold Post. That and more.

  25. LD Says:

    Maybe somebody find a better link, but this cartoon from Weil tells all:

  26. Kepler Says:

    It’s just a matter of being practical. Being obsessed with wishing someone’s dead is not useful.
    You really do not want to end up like those old Miami Cubans, embittered to the bone.
    And the actual things just makes you look pathetic in front of the majority abroad, which is very bad PR. Yeah, I know, Firepigette, “being true”, “being free”, being “un PC”, which seems to be per se and on its own the highestmost virtue to any good white ma’am from Carolina to Georgia.

    Well, and for Liz, as I understand an evangelical Christian…well, nothing…actually I know it’s not uncommon.

    Yes, Hugo Chávez might kick or not kick the bucket any time soon.
    It’s convenient to talk about what might happen. I don’t want to go all the way down to spending energies on crossing fingers and “praying”.
    I won’t be going North Korean on that criminal. I just think that obsession is pointless. It doesn’t make you do any bit more that might be useful.

    He will croack when he croacks. Boliburgueses’ power will crumble very soon after that. Will some of the forces that are currently linked to this go not with a bang and not with a whimper but with an extremely bloody bang-bang-bang?
    I don’t know.
    I have read a couple of pages of history and I don’t know.

    • 999 Says:

      Kepler,
      I’m not a Miami Cuban, just a Cuban who had to leave his country long ago. But I know many in Miami, and I think I know myself enough. I can tell you that the sentiment is not one of bitterness. If we long for Castro to finally die it is mainly to turn the page, close the book and finally forget. For 50 yers or so we have been wishing for changes that will allow us to return to our land. That will not happen now, regardless of Castro’s state of health. All we want is to be allowed to forget. When we raise a glass the day Castro dies, it will not be in celebration: more likely it will be in silence with a tear in our eye. I, for one, will probably go to Miami to be with my people when that time comes, thinking that this particular stage in our lives is finally over. Then come back and get on with my exile. I hope you Venezuelans will never have to go through this. It’s not fun.

    • liz Says:

      Como siempre Kepler, you’re reading too much into my comments and/or wishes. Or assuming that you know a lot about me, just because you have some data related to me.
      I could care less about what your evangelical christians pray, want, desire… Tu como q tienes o tuviste alguna relacion problematica con ellos and you blame on them any matter that you don’t comprehend or any point of view different than yours. Believe me, it’s OK to have differences of opinion.
      If you wanna know, the man has wrecked my family finances twice!
      It’s amazing that even having been educated abroad, we have had to work as taxi drivers, buhoneros y gestores. La lista tascon no es coba…
      So, if the man croaks, I’ll be more than happy. Sin obsesiones ni pasiones, me entraria in fresquito.
      I won’t write anything else, I don’t want to be polemic on this forum. I respect Miguel too much.

  27. firepigette Says:

    999,

    Just curious, why wouldn’t you go back to Cuba to help rebuild your country?If you think of going back to Miami to be with your people you still must identify primarily with being Cuban.
    If most Cubans who have left Cuba do not go back, I see very little hope for Cuba’s future.

    As for Chavez dying now, I don’t know what will happen exactly.I do not envision that much blood shed.I do envision a space that could open up a possibilty if the cards are played right.Venezuela and Cuba certainly can be compared, but there are tremendous differences as well that will create an unknown impact.

    • 999 Says:

      Your question is very difficult to answer. I suppose I could say because I don’t think the Cuban regime will change in my lifetime, and there is little one can do while the regime remains totally repressive. I wish I was wrong.

      I certainly don’t wish this type of situation on any Venezuelan, even Chavista ones. I’m hopeful that a Cuba-style dictatorship can be averted, but Chavez’ demise is no guarantee.

      • Roy Says:

        Most of the Miami Cubans have made good lives for themselves. Too much time has passed for there to be any hope of recovering property. The ones who do go to visit will find themselves in a place they find strange and foreign to them. Regrettably, the ones that do go to Cuba will mostly be “carpetbaggers”, seeking a quick buck. Nevertheless, Cuba will recover just fine. There will be more than sufficient investment and the Cubans are hard workers.

  28. firepigette Says:

    Kepler,

    “We need not destroy the past. It is gone.” — John Cage

  29. loroferoz Says:

    The best he can do for Venezuela is fade away. That said, I hold no hard feelings for the man.

    “Additionally, the electorate largely believed that Chávez had been cured from his cancer, with polls suggesting 80% of his voters believed the illness was not a factor to consider in the decision.”

    But he has to go, because 80% of his voters, and goodness knows how many of those who don’t vote for him show signs of utter imbecility thanks to his very presence in Venezuelan politics.

    Besides, if some idiot comes telling me that we should wish for his recovery, I think his state is such that no amount of praying and wishing can help him now.

    I indeed wished publicly for the man, Hugo Chavez to take concrete and sane actions that might have helped him in a practical manner. To RETIRE from politics, name a successor and focus on his own recovery in peace.

    But no! Chavistas who supposedly love him encouraged him or at least did not dissuade him from campaigning. He chose to campaign for reelection, to continue his mindrape of Venezuela, to continue with the insanity and to commit suicide. I cannot but celebrate the end of national insanity however painful the death of one person might be to his family.


  30. […] Chavez’ Authorized To Leave Country To Seek Health Treatment […]

  31. Ronaldo Says:

    I want Chavez to live long enough to-
    experience being on the run from justice
    experience the full exposure of his corruption
    experience being caught in a million lies
    experience the hopelessness of untreatable cancer
    experience the dictators he supports being killed
    experience the monuments he built getting destroyed
    experience poverty after returning the $billions he stole
    experience the disdain the Castros will get after their deaths
    experience being powerless in a country with the rule of law

    Then again, its okay if he wants to avoid these miseries and leave sooner


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