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  • The Health of Tyrants Chavez and Castro Worries Venezuela and Cuba

    (L to R) Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Raul Castro. (Photo: AFP/Newscom)

    Just weeks after his October presidential electoral victory, Hugo Chavez is returning to Cuba for unspecified cancer treatment.

    The brief announcement of his return appears to contradict Chavez’s campaign reassurances that he had conquered cancer.

    Prior to the October 7 elections, Chavez, president since 1999, did all in his power to reassure the Venezuelan people that he was strong enough to govern for another six years. On October 1, he said, “If I did not feel that I have the strength” to lead the country for another six-year term, “I would not be here.”

    Voters delivered a 10 percent margin of victory over rival Henrique Capriles in part because they believed what their leader told them regarding his health. It was a component of a much broader strategy to win unfairly at the polls. And it worked.

    Since October 7, Chavez has rarely appeared in public, and his return to Cuba will touch off a new round of speculation about his potential longevity. Chavez is slated to be sworn in for the next presidential term on January 10, 2013.

    In Cuba, Fidel Castro has not been seen in public for months, although various sources continue to assert that the 86-year dictator remains “in good health” and “is keeping up with politics.”

    The question in both the Cuban and Venezuelan cases regards the future stability of highly autocratic political systems. In the case of Cuba, Fidel Castro’s brother Raul has managed to keep an iron grip on power, mixing limited but tepid economic reforms with fierce repression of any potential political opposition. Facing no democratic constraints, Raul hopes to pass on power to post-Castro leadership without any domestic turbulence.

    In Venezuela, Chavez has lined up a likely successor in his new vice president and foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, but an orderly and constitutional succession will require new elections, discipline within Chavez’s Venezuelan Socialist Party, and the filling of the charismatic void that Chavez’s passing would leave.

    Both Chavez and the Castros are banking on the second Obama Administration’s inclination not to champion democracy in the Americas or create unnecessary diplomatic waves, as they attempt to engineer political successions with a maximum of closed-door dealings and a minimum of transparency and genuine democracy.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to The Health of Tyrants Chavez and Castro Worries Venezuela and Cuba

    1. Jackel says:

      I love the USA, but the CIA's unfair hipoccritical relations in the americas. The poeple of venezula love Chavez so he is not a tyrant, in 2002 the CIA made a failed covert operation coup to take chavez out of power..why?.. Because venezula has oil they hate the way chavez was spreading the wealth in the country amoung the venezulian populous. Just like in cuba 2day is much culturally, educated, and morally better 2day then US runned Puerto Rico. Cuba wouldnt have went commi had the CIA not tryed 2 make it a US state ran by the mafia, putting in a undercover dicitator Batista, to run cuba how the CIA sees fit

      • Barbara says:

        I have many friends from Venezuela. Many of then are trying to move here to the United States because of Chavez. Only the very lowest class of Venezuelans like Chavez. The others are sad that he is destroying their country. Moving from one's home country is not a matter taken lightly by my Venezuelan friends but a necessary one because of his actions.

      • Frank says:

        Jackel the poor and uneducated people of venezuela love chavez because he gives them free money in the form of bonds and he also gives away apartments. The educated people of venezuela actually see how chavez is destroying the economy. Any person that alters the constitution to remove presidential term limits and forcefully oppresses any opposition is a tyrant. Therefore, you're wrong and chavez is a tyrant. Additonally, notice how chavez only "spreads the wealth" during elections. He buys his vote from the poor massess.

    2. Vic Robertson says:

      The headline: "The Health of Tyrants Chavez and Castro Worries Venezuela and Cuba". It seems to be political inspired; it should had excluded the Tyrants word. Journalist should be neutral when writting their reports. Eithier he is a bad journalist or a spy.

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