Monday, January 14th 2013 - 06:58 UTC

Chavez health ‘improving’; top Venezuelan officials meet in Havana with Raul Castro

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's lung infection has been controlled and his medical state is improving, the government announced on Sunday while four of the most powerful figures gathered in Havana allegedly to report to the cancer-stricken leader and meet with Cuban allies.

Communications minister Ernesto Villegas went on Sunday on national television to giver a brief report on Chavez’ health condition

Maduro and Cabello meet Raul Castro at Havana’s airport

They are Vice-president Nicolas Maduro; National assembly president, Diosdado Cabello; Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez and Attorney General, Cilia Flores.

“Despite his delicate state ... in recent days the general medical evolution has been favorable,” said the latest official health update. “The respiratory infection is controlled, though the commander-president still requires specific measures to solve breathing insufficiency ... he is conscious.”

According to an official report the four leading Venezuelan officials met with Cuban president Raul Castro at the VIP hall of the Jose Marti airport. The report also mentions that on Saturday afternoon the Cuban president said farewell to visiting Argentine and Peruvian presidents, Cristina Fernandez and Ollanta Humala. No details of the issues addressed at the ‘Cuban-Venezuela’ summit were revealed.

Chavez, who missed his own inauguration for a new, six-year term last week, has not been seen or heard from in public since the surgery over a month ago. “We are all Chavez!” and “Chavez will return!” were among slogans sang and chanted at numerous solidarity rallies, meetings and concerts across Venezuela over the weekend, which drew thousands of passionate and anxious supporters.

Venezuelan state TV on Sunday even split its screen into four to show rallies and masses in churches going around the nation in. Likewise in Cuba, a mass for the Venezuelan president was held at a Catholic Church in Havana on Saturday.

“The situation is complex and delicate,” Elias Jaua, a former vice-president and ally of Chavez, told one rally. “He continues battling for his life”.

Communications minister Ernesto Villegas said Maduro, whom Chavez has designated his successor, informed his boss of the outpouring at home. But the joint presence of top Venezuelan officials in Havana inevitably deepens rumors that Chavez is at death's door - and draws opposition criticism that Raul and Fidel Castro are giving instructions behind the scenes.

Since the disease was discovered in mid-2011, Chavez has wrongly declared himself cured twice, in an extraordinary and unsettling saga for Venezuela's 29 million people. The stakes are high for the wider region too. Cuba and a handful of other populist-ruled nations have for years been depending on Chavez's aid and oil on long term to bolster fragile economies.

Should Chavez die or be incapacitated, the most likely next step would be an election pitting Maduro, 50, against Henrique Capriles, 40, the main opposition leader who lost to Chavez in an October presidential election.

In an opinion column on Sunday, Capriles railed against the “national paralysis” but said the opposition would not be drawn into confrontation or street protests. That tactic failed spectacularly for them a decade ago when Chavez was briefly toppled but came back stronger than before.

“Just as the president has the right to attend his ill health, so Venezuelans do not deserve urgent problems to be put on hold,” Capriles said. “We are not going to play the game of calling people onto the street to create a confrontation that will benefit the violent and radical ones.”

Earlier in the day Adan Chavez, the president’s eldest brother and governor of the state of Barinas said recovery ‘was on track’ and strongly denied rumors that the president was in comma and the family discussing when to disconnect him from the intensive care unit.

“Those reports are part of a dirty war campaign from the ‘necrophilia’ opposition and the Venezuelan media only interested in releasing false statements with the purpose of generating chaos and anxiety”, said Adan Chavez

21 comments Feed

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1 tango (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 08:58 am Report abuse
Do you believe these people? Not likely
2 Anglotino (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 09:38 am Report abuse
The four were in Cuba to view his body as it 'lies in state' awaiting an official death announcement.

Cuba is frantically trying to stabilise the Venezuelan government so that the opposite doesn't win the upcoming presidential election and turn the tap off.

Capriles is playing a good game. He knows that time is on his side and is smart enough to see through the bullshit. His statesman-like actions are reflecting well in Venezuela compared to the 'deer in headlights' that the government has become.

The more Maduro tries to bolster his position and hold power without any actual proof Chavez is alive, the worse it gets. The economy is in dire straits and a currency devaluation should have already happened and its delay is making things worse.
3 Frank (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 09:52 am Report abuse
If they said his condition was 'stable' I would accept it.... 'dead' is 'stable'
4 scottbart (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 09:56 am Report abuse
Dont fight it Hugo!Just go now you chavvy twat!
5 LEPRecon (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 12:21 pm Report abuse
Is this stable like old soviet leaders stable? Where they used to prop their bodies up in front of a huge microphone, and have someone impersonate their voice so no one would know that they had snuffed it, until the ensuing power struggle had been played out and a new 'leader' chosen?
6 Ozgood (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 12:22 pm Report abuse
His name will be changed to Lazarus H Chavez.

Miracles never cease the impossible takes a little longer.
7 Devonian (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 02:22 pm Report abuse
Even if Hugo Chavez does make a miraculaous recovery why does he want to carry o n in power. Surely the time has come for him to take a step back and leave the ruling of Venezuela to someone younger and fitter than he is. The country will carry on - with or without his presence - some leaders are reluctant to acknowledge this.
8 ChrisR (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 02:32 pm Report abuse
“The respiratory infection is controlled, though the commander-president still requires specific measures to solve breathing insufficiency ... he is conscious.”

So the pneumonia is being held in check by the antibiotics: for the present.

The specific measures are of course a life support machine.

The pneumonia will likely get the upper hand and see him off. It’s the real killer in these cases.
9 CJvR (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 02:36 pm Report abuse
So Venezuela's transition to a Necrocracy is postponed for the moment...
10 ElaineB (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 02:57 pm Report abuse
I don't believe he is conscious at all. That statement is to try to give the illusion he is capable of running Venezuela; he isn't.

The reason he will not give up power is that he has many hidden skeletons he wants to keep firmly in the closet. If he dies before all is revealed he will probably still be regarded as some kind of hero to the 'slightly less poor than before he came to power'.
11 Britninja (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 03:45 pm Report abuse
The government is probably going to copy their official policy from Weekend At Bernie's.
12 yankeeboy (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 03:47 pm Report abuse
I hope CFK is watching how Venezuela deals with the Sugar hoarders, it is not too long that she is going to have the same problem at home.

In pesos sugar has gone up 60%yoy. I wish my retirement portfolio had some RG sugar in it. hahahahaha
13 Ozgood (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 03:50 pm Report abuse
These people (dictators) never know when to “call it a day”

Mugabe (89, Zimbabwe) Made a mess of his country. Like the Mississippi he keeps on rolling along, inexorable and malignant
14 Conqueror (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 04:12 pm Report abuse
Will Chavez reappear in a new incarnation? A “talking head”? Just the head. The rest is already dead! Has been for years.
15 Tobers (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 04:20 pm Report abuse
The human race has to move on from this nonsensical hero idol worship state of affairs.
16 Think (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 10:14 pm Report abuse
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen Anglo Turnips.......................
17 reality check (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 10:56 pm Report abuse

Run away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There's two of em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
18 yankeeboy (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 11:11 pm Report abuse
I wonder who the CIA will target next for their cancer?

Glad to see it is finally working but I am going to complain that it has taken way too long!

Looks like Brazil is going to force elections when El Fatso finally is in the ground.
19 reality check (#) Jan 14th, 2013 - 11:16 pm Report abuse
Ah, at last a cure for cancer. Disband the CIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
20 Optimus_Princeps (#) Jan 15th, 2013 - 12:57 am Report abuse
Many speculate that he's already dead, and his friends are buying time to avoid a crisis. I think he's still critical, but I wish him a slow and painful death and that he soils himself before he dies. I mean that in the nicest way possible.
21 Britninja (#) Jan 15th, 2013 - 02:58 am Report abuse
Maybe Think can donate his organs to buy the Chav an extra month - two rancid birds with one stone ;)

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