01/12/13 - Times of India - Venezuelan VP in Cuba again to visit ailing Hugo Chavez
HAVANA: Venezuelan VP Nicolas Maduro was in the Cuban capital today,
saying he wanted to visit ailing President Hugo Chavez whose month-long
absence following cancer surgery has rattled his nation.
Maduro, handpicked by Chavez as his political heir, has been at the center
of the oil-rich nation's response since its fiery president suffered
complications from cancer surgery, forcing the government to delay the
re-elected leader's inauguration on Thursday.
The Venezuelan VP was received yesterday in Havana by Cuban foreign
minister Bruno Rodriguez, Cuban state media reported. But it was not
immediately clear when he would to able to see Chavez.
Maduro, 50, has delivered somber updates about the leader's delicate
health, which has plunged Venezuela into uncertainty in the past month,
with the opposition calling for a medical board to assess Chavez's
condition -- a demand rejected by the Supreme Court.
Chavez has been out of public sight since undergoing surgery on December
11, the fourth operation in a year and a half.
"I will continue this work of visiting the family, meeting with the
medical team, visiting our comandante Chavez and presenting him with the
good news of a nation at work," Maduro said when visiting the headquarters
of oil giant PDVSA.
A day after he led a huge rally in Caracas that replaced the 58-year-old
president's swearing-in ceremony, Maduro said he would tell Chavez about
the visit of 20 Latin American delegations, including heads of state, at
Two Chavez allies, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and Peruvian
President Ollanta Humala, also arrived in Havana yesterday.
"We all hope for a quick recovery," Humala said. Kirchner, who brought a
Bible for Chavez, told reporters that she would have lunch with Cuban
President Raul Castro and his retired brother Fidel, and that she would
also meet with Chavez's family.
In power for 14 years and re-elected in October, Chavez was supposed to be
sworn in to a new six year term on Thursday, but the government
indefinitely postponed the event after the president suffered a severe
Despite the charismatic leader's absence, thousands of fervent supporters
swore "absolute loyalty" to Chavez during a rally that day.
Several regional leaders turned up, including fellow leftist presidents
Evo Morales of Bolivia and Jose Mujica of Uruguay.
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