Hugo Chávez: The Absent President

Source: Reuters

Hugo Chávez is again in Havana this week to receive treatment for the cancer that was first diagnosed in June 2011. During the last five weeks he has only spent ten days in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, and yet he has refused to delegate any responsibility to his vice-President, Elías Jaua. He has instead opted to run his government from his hospital bed in Havana using a phone calls and video conferencing. Chávez still has not revealed which type of cancer he is suffering from, nor what his prognosis is. Non-official sources claim that Chávez is very severely ill, but the government has dismissed those claims as efforts to discredit him before the elections in October. Chávez’s insistence on continuing to govern while seriously ill highlights his obsession with retaining power at any cost. Whether he recovers to retake the presidency or not, Venezuela’s short-term well-being depends on him delegating power while he makes a recovery.

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