Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez cancelled his daily radio program to concentrate on several cooperation agreements to be signed with Argentina Friday and Saturday announced the country's Ministry of Communications.
According to the Caracas press Chavez is suffering from a severe case of influenza and sore throat, but should be back in the air next week following this weekend's visit to Argentina and Bolivia, reported Venezuela's national broadcasting station. Last month Chavez begun daily appearances on radio and television to promote and explain his "Bolivarian Socialist" revolution. Until then he had a five hours Sunday chat program, "Aló Presidente" with an open microphone and strong references to his number one enemy "Mr Danger (President Bush) and the US empire", and reports on the health of his good friend and mentor Fidel Castro. Chavez is scheduled to visit this weekend Argentina and Bolivia, a highly political trip because it coincides with US President George Bush visit to neighboring Uruguay and radical groups in Buenos Aires are organizing a massive protest rally in a football stadium with the Venezuelan leader as the main speaker. During his brief Friday visit to Buenos Aires Chavez will be signing several trade, finance and cooperation agreements with his counterpart Nestor Kirchner. Following lunch with the Kirchner family, Chavez will address the rally convened by grass root and human rights groups to condemn Bush's visit to the region. Bolivian president Evo Morales and Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, close allies of Chavez have also been invited to the rally. Apparently Chavez is also planning to visit several plants from Argentina's main dairy company Sancor which was saved from bankruptcy with a 135 million US dollars loan from the Venezuelan government. Relations between Argentina and Venezuela have been described as "most excellent" by the Venezuelan acting ambassador Fabian David Arraez in Buenos Aires who anticipated presidents Kirchner and Chavez will continue "advancing" with several economic projects, although no details were revealed. On Saturday President Chavez leaves to meet Evo Morales in Bolivia, a country where the growing influence of Venezuela including in military and strategic affairs is beginning to concern neighbors.