58-year-old Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
continues to fight a severe lung infection, following cancer surgery, in Cuba. The latest news from Venezuela is that legislators have re-elected a Chavez ally, Diosdado Cabello, as head of the National Assembly.
Venezuelans, plus others around the world, are looking to the future and the possibility that Chavez will not be able to return to his role as leader of the country. The re-election of Diosdado Cabello, a supporter of Chavez, attempts to preempt political difficulties in the aftermath of such a situation. If the need arises Cabello will now be able to take up the position of caretaker president of Venezuela.
In the event of the death of President Chavez, Cabello would be able to maintain the status quo, until an election was organised. It is anticipated that such an election could be held in 30 days if necessary.
President Chavez.has already declared his hope that the Vice-President, Nicolas Maduro, will take over from him, if necessary. He is widely seen as "heir apparent". Cabello
was the assembly chief under Chavez.
Hugo Chavez is due to be sworn in, once more, as President of Venezuela, this coming Thursday. If this proves impossible opponents of the President want Cabello to take the oath instead. Supporters of the President appear to see no reason why the president cannot remain in power and take the oath, before the Supreme Court, at a later, more convenient, date. Agreement has not been reached yet. A return to Venezuela of Hugo Chavez would obviously resolve this situation.
According to SkyNews
supporters of Chavez have denied that he still has serious health problems. Nicolas Maduro appeared with Diosdado Cabello to refute the claims.
In spite of attempting to show a unified front cracks are already showing in the politics of Venezuela, during this latest absence by Chavez.
Update Jan 9: It has been confirmed that Hugo Chavez will not take the oath Thursday. Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced that Chavez will not return before Thursday, adding
An application of a constitutional article permitting him to take the oath at a later, undetermined date.
has now been put into effect, reports the Washington Post