Apparently, Venezuelan Dictator—er, President—Hugo Chavez doesn’t trust healthcare in his own country. Who can blame him after the wreck Chavez made of the Venezuelan economy. So, perhaps at Castro’s behest, Hugo’s gone to Cuba for chemotherapy. On top of admitting his own country’s healthcare is anadequate, Chavez essentially gave Brazil the bird, turning down treatment in Sao Paolo.
For what may be the first time, Chavez delegated some of his presidential powers to the Vice President Elias Jaua and Planning and Finance Minister Jorge Giordani. Jaua will handle budget transfers to government ministries, presidential commissions, any approved expropriations of businesses, and other budget-related responsibilities. Obviously the pace of socialist co-option of private property must continue unabated during Hugo’s absence. Budget shortfalls and certain tax exemptions will get Giordini’s attention.
Chavez, who has held power in Venezuela for 12 years, abruptly flew to Cuba for surgery in late June. The mysterious illness was confirmed as cancer, most likely colon cancer. In an effort to allay concerns about not yielding all power to Jaua, Chavez gave these upbeat remarks on state TV Saturday:
It’s not time to die. It’s time to live. I’m saying goodbye for some days, but in a deeper sense I’m not saying goodbye. … I’ll be attentive every day, every hour, every minute to internal events and I’ll be in permanent contact.
I despise Hugo Chavez and denounce his politics. I refuse to buy gasoline from Citgo because it’s Venezuelan- (read Chavez-) owned. Still, I hope his treatment goes well. Nonetheless, it’s time for the US to consider what they can do to shape what will likely be a chaotic power vacuum in Venezuela if Chavez dies suddenly. I don’t think Hillary Clinton even has her eye on that ball.
Previously on Hugo Chavez: