Chavez to Remain in Cuba under Treatment

He won’t attend his inauguration on Thursday

By Circles Robinson

From Chavez successful presidential campaign. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will not attend inauguration day ceremonies this Thursday, January 10, in Caracas, under doctor’s orders to remain for continued around-the-clock treatment in Cuba.

“The president has asked that it be made public that according to the recommendations of his medical team… the post operation recovery period must extend beyond January 10th,” states a letter VP Nicolas Maduro sent to the National Assembly and read by its chair Diosdado Cabello.

Based on the latest reports from the government on Chavez’s health, the announcement didn’t surprise anyone, said Abraham Zamorano, the BBC Mundo correspondent in Caracas.

While the swearing in ceremony will be postponed, the governing United Socialist Unity Party (PSUV) has called a mass rally in support of their convalescing leader.

Bolivian President Evo Morales and Uruguay’s Jose Mujica are expected to be present for the gathering in Caracas in solidarity with Chavez and his people, noted BBC Mundo.

The opposition and its leader Henrique Capriles have been asking for clarification on the health status of Chavez, thus far a closely guarded secret.

The charismatic president, who won reelection on October 7 with 55% of the vote, has not been seen or heard from since his December 11 surgery, his fourth in a year and a half in his fight against cancer in an undisclosed location of his “pelvic region”.



13 thoughts on “Chavez to Remain in Cuba under Treatment

  • This is what the Venezuelan Constitution says:

    Article 231: The president-elect shall take office on 10 January… by taking an oath before the National Assembly. If for any reason, (they) cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly, they shall take the oath of office before the Supreme Court.

    Article 233: When an elected president becomes absolutely absent prior to inauguration (1), a new election… shall be held within 30 days… Pending (this), the president of the National Assembly will assume responsibility for the presidency of the Republic.

    Article 234: When the president is temporarily unable to serve (2), they shall be replaced by the… vice-president for a period of up to 90 days, which may be extended by resolution of the National Assembly for an additional 90 days.

    The legally seems to turn on those two key Articles, 233 & 234.

    If Chavez is “temporarily unable to serve”, he may be replaced by the vice-president (Maduro) for a period of up to 90 days. The crucial point being “temporarily”. Does anybody seriously believe Chavez is only temporarily absent? He is gravely ill and dying, if not already expired. he is not coming back to office. Therefore his absence is not temporary, it is absolute. In which case, Article 233 pertains:

    “When an elected president becomes absolutely absent prior to inauguration (1), a new election… shall be held within 30 days…”

    Constitutionally, an election must be called.

    “Pending (this), the president of the National Assembly will assume responsibility for the presidency of the Republic.”

    Constitutionally, Cabello should be serving as acting president, not Maduro.

    This is why a medical board must be formed to determine the true state of health of Hugo Chavez. Absurdly, the TSJ has ruled that there is no absence of Chavez temporal or absolute! He has been incommunicado in a Cuban hospital for several weeks, but they clam that doesn’t make him absent from Venezuela and his duties. Could there be a statement more clear than that, that the seat of power is not Caracas but Havana?

  • I recognize that Chavez won the election and (so far) I have not heard anything saying the TSJ ruling is invalid or unjustified.

    But you must admit it is odd that there have been no video images of Chavez since the operation and nobody except for his closest political allies and family have seen him. We have zero evidence he is actually alive. At the very least he is gravely ill and they know it. I do not expect Chavez will be returning to office. Period.

    It looks like the powers that be would prefer to avoid a messy election and have a risk free transition to a government led by Maduro. Let us hope the election on December 11th will not prove to be Venezuela’s last one.

  • Because this ruling is in responce to two briefs filed by the opposition starting some 10 days ago, that did not request one and everyone knows he went to Cuba for treatment.

    Now who is it that does not want to follow the constitutionally process, the TSJ and transparently?

    Check out the National Enquier or Voltaire Network for your conspiracy news.


  • “She said there is also no merit to form a possible medical board.”

    Why not? What are they hiding?

  • Speaking of inaugurations:

    “Richard Blanco Will Be First Latino Inaugural Poet”

    The US Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Wednesday that this inauguration’s poet will be Cuban-American Richard Blanco. At 44, Blanco is the youngest poet, as well as the first Latino and the first openly gay poet to take part in an inaugural ceremony.

    His personal website:

  • I’m sure the opposition is not howling like mad dogs.

    Venezuela Supreme Court (TSJ ) rules President Chavez absence approved by NA no need for new swearing in

    Chief Justice Luisa Estella Morales: As a Venezuelan President is entitled to recover his health

    President TSJ: No absolute or temporary absence. The President asked for a permit and the National Assembly authorized unanimously on Dec.9th.

    TSJ: no need for a new inauguration of President Hugo Chavez because there is no interruption in the performance of duties
    “The inauguration of President reelected can be done in post-10E opportunity before the TSJ”

    TSJ: officials remain in office based on the principle of administrative continuity

    The president of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ), Luisa Estella Morales, said on Wednesday that it is not necessary a new inauguration of President Hugo Chavez, as it is a re-elected president .

    TSJ declares that President Chavez is serving a permit approved by the NA
    Caracas, 09 Jan. AVN. – The president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Luisa Estela Morales said the Constitutional Court, with the presentation of all the judges, ruled that that interpretation on article 231 of the Constitution should not be considered in the absence of the president is not a temporary absence.

    She explained that the Head of State is complying with a permit approved unanimously by the National Assembly to leave the country for more than five days.

    She said that there is no lack temporal or absolute. “We have interprertado there is not even temporary absence,” Morales said in a press conference broadcast by Venezolana de Television.

    She said there is also no merit to form a possible medical board

  • It is impossible to take seriously a report coming from one of the myriad tiny Trotskyite parties. The history of these groups is a pathetic litany of squabbles, splits and fanatical disputation of arcane theoretical points, driven by a clash of narcissistic personalities.

    Chavez is gravely ill. His party is attempting to hold onto power. The Cuban government is working to maintain their influence. That the opposition is raising these issues as a problem is natural and reasonable.

  • Many people have seen him alive in Cuba, some ministers, his daughters and even his brother have visited him recently. It makes no sense to deny this and that he is not alive, even though many of the opposition have said he been dead for months, is dying or would die last week.

    As for transparency, could the bureaucracy have handled it better? For sure but the hysterical and depraved opposition and international media have just been fanning the flames once again.

    Even some members of the opposition have said the constitution is being followed and for legality of the process, we did not see the these so called new democrats of the opposition or church say anything about the constitution during the April coup of 2002 backed by the US, the illegal oil takeover by the oppo’s which did not last very long or the guarimba’s staged by them, the taking of money from the US for economic and political sabotaged or the fourth generation warfare by the US.

    The process has so far lasted 13 elections, that’s legality despite the opposition and the US.

    Complete the revolution, forward to real socialism!


  • Cort,

    That is an interesting bit of history about Franklin Pierce being sworn in to office from Cuba. I bit ironic too, considering the whole US-Cuban relationship today. A quibble: when LBJ was sworn in he was in US airspace, the plane took off from US soil and landed on US soil. In every sense he was in the US at the time.

    As for Chavez and Venezuela: given that there has been no independent witness to the fact he’s even alive, we can assume the PSUV in cahoots with Cuban government are stage managing a charade here. Whatever does happen, it is in Venezuela’s best interest that it be done legally, constitutionally and transparently.

  • Under article 231 of the constitution, the head of Congress, Diosdado Cabello, will assume interim power as President Chávez is “not in conditions to take the oath and will do so later”.

    Also article 234 which allows a head of state 90 days absence (in case of illness etc) at the discretion of Venezuela’s congress and can be extended one more time after that. Or the TSJ could just go to Cuba to swear in the president.

    Its not unusual and happen in the US before, so far the only person who could have become president who was sworn in abroad was William R. King, vice president of the 13th President Franklin Pierce, who suffered from tuberculosis in 1853 traveled to Cuba to try to recover and was not present at the inauguration in Washington. A waiver was allowed by Congress so he could be sworn in Havana which was 20 days later.

    When the August 2, 1923 President Warren Harding died suddenly, his vice president, Calvin Coolidge was in a remote rural area of Vermont( some say he was really born in Canada and not a US citizen) thus became president a day later . The oath was taken by his father.

    110 years later, in 1963 Lyndon Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One , not even on US soil when JFK was assassinated.

    And its been the opposition and the international media pushing the disinformation on what happens if he did not show up, at 9 am this morning the chief justice of the TSJ will have a press conference.

    The whip of the “counter-revolution has always moved the grassroots forward in Venezuela. Some are calling for the expropiación de golpistas y acaparadores …

    Rojo Rojito

  • No reasonable and informed person expected that Chavez was going to be well enough to attend his swearing-in. No news there. The real question is how long Maduro and Cabello can maintain this charade? Clearly Chavez is gravely ill. Based on the nature of his cancer given the information that has been released, his prognosis is not good. Any other honorable leader would have stepped down. However, given that Chavez is Fidel’s “mini-me” (Austin Powers reference), even a near-death experience does not warrant relinquishing control. It took nearly two years for Fidel to step down after his rumored flat-line and he was giving up the throne to a blood relative! Still, Venezuela is not Cuba. If Capriles and the vocal opposition make enough noise, it may force the Chavistas to acknowledge that Chavez is not coming back to govern and force an election. Better still, it may embolden Venezuelans to give real democracy a chance.

  • Doesn’t the Venezuelan Constitution now require a new election within 30 days? If Chavez is not sworn in, there is no other legal alternative.

    Are they trying to pull an unconstitutional coup by calling the crowds into the streets? If the Chavistas wanted peace and calm, the would tell the mobs to stay home. This will not end well for Venezuela.

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