Argentine president Cristina Fernandez is flying Saturday to Emirates the first leg of a trade tour that includes the Far East after spending 24 hours in Cuba where she met the Castro brothers, visited the relatives of cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez and late Friday held a mini summit with Venezuelan Vice president Nicolas Maduro and Peruvian head of state Ollanta Humala.
Cristina Fernandez arrived in Cuba Friday morning, the first leg of her political and business tour of eleven days to the Emirates, Indonesia and Vietnam and although originally not planned she insisted in visiting the ailing Hugo Chavez in hospital or at least to express her love and solidarity to the family of the Venezuelan leader, which apparently was the most she was allowed to do.
“Chavez is a great friend of Argentina who helped the country when nobody else dared to do so”, Cristina Fernandez told the Cuban and international media.
“This is not a visit for comments or interviews, simply solidarity and gratitude to whom is my friend, a friend and companion of Argentina when nobody dared to come close to us”, said the Argentine leader.
In her twitter Cristina Fernández had anticipated that it was her intention to give President Chavez a Bible she received Thursday evening during a meeting at Government House in Buenos Aires with members of the Argentine federation of Evangelical Churches.
The re-re-elected Chavez is under intensive care in a Cuban hospital since last December 11 when he underwent a fourth surgery to try and contain the cancer he is desperately battling together with respiratory complications. It was the fourth surgery in 18 months and even when the official Venezuelan medical reports say he is in serious conditions but stable, they insist he remains conscious and aware of government affairs.
The National Assembly last week voted to grant him all the time needed to overcome his medical situation before returning to Venezuela for the presidential oath which should have taken place last Thursday January 10. The Supreme Tribunal of Justice this week also, supported the postponement of President Chavez swearing in ceremony, arguing ‘administrative continuance’, given the fact he was re-re-elected last 7 October.
The decisions from the Legislative and Judiciary branches has been seriously criticized and their constitutionality questioned by the opposition arguing the new six-year mandate means a fresh start on January 10, and in the absence of President Chavez, his apparent successor Vice-president Nicolas Maduro must resign and the president of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello should become care-taker president.
On Friday Cristina Fernandez had lunch with Fidel and Raul Castro, the latter now president of Cuba because the historic leader of the revolution is also in a delicate health situation and in the afternoon visited the family of President Chavez at the hospital in Havana where he is under treatment. Apparently she was not allowed to see the convalescent leader and it was revealed that the Venezuelan government had from the first moment strongly suggested she should not visit Cuba.
Later in the evening Cristina Fernandez met with the Venezuelan Vice president who had flown to Havana “to report on government issues to President Chavez” and with the Peruvian head of state Ollanta Humala who arrived in Cuba to sign bilateral trade and education agreements and “obviously to express the Peruvian people’s solidarity and my personal interest in the health condition of Chavez”.
“Obviously I will also ask about President Chavez. We all wish, all of us I imagine a quick recovery of the president”, said Humala.
Venezuelan vice-president Maduro who was anointed as his successor by Chavez hours before he travelled to Cuba over a month ago said “I will continue this job of visiting the family (of Chavez), to meet with the medical team and to deliver to our Commander-president the good news from Venezuela”.
He had anticipated before flying to Havana that he also expected to be present when the visits of the Argentine and Peruvian presidents.