The Curious Case of Hugo Chavez

Government officials report he'll run in 2012 election despite health concerns

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Hugo Chavez's health has been declining recently. He admitted to having cancer. After seeking treatment in Cuba, he made a "triumphant return" to Venezuela. He then said that he had Stage II cancer and would require more treatment in Cuba. Chavez returned to Cuba over the weekend to begin his second round of cancer treatment in less than a month. He told reporters that a tumor the size of a baseball was removed from his abdomen during his first round of treatment.

Government officials spoke out Monday in support of their ailing president saying he will run for President again in the 2012 elections, BBC News reports. "I think there is no doubt the president will be present at the 2012 elections and then for many years," Finance Minister Jorge Giordani told state TV reporters. Chavez delegated some of his presidential responsibilities for the first time before traveling to Cuba for his new treatment. Finance Minister Jorge Giordani and Vice President Elias Jaua were entrusted with carrying out the will of the president while he receives treatment in Cuba.

The Guardian examined the potential lineage in Venezuela should anything happen to Chavez over the next year, and also examined the declining state of the governing party.

Many have interpreted Chávez's refusal to name just one successor, and his vehement calls for unity, as a clear sign that the fissures within chavismo run deeper than chavistas themselves want to admit. For the political analyst John Magdaleno, the official announcement of Chávez's cancer brought to light the many factions within chavismo.

Should Chavez remain in Cuba for more than 180 days, Vice President Jaua will assume all of his responsibilities until the elections in December 2012. They also named Chavez's brother, Adan, the governor of their home state, or Chavez's daughter, Ma Gabriella, as possible candidates to assume the role of president.
Chavez tweeted a good night message in Spanish Monday, which we translated over the Internet, that says, "Good evening Compatriots! It is here, closing another day of this battle for life. With an unbeatable optimism! Fidel came again!" He watched a soccer game with Fidel Castro the other day. Chavez is confident in his fight against cancer, for now.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.