01/22/13 - Businessweek - Chavez Preparing Venezuela Return, Bolivia's Morales Says
Bolivian President Evo Morales said cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez
is preparing to return home, a day after Venezuela's foreign minister said
the self- declared socialist joked and laughed during a meeting at his
hospital bedside in Havana.
"Yesterday I was in communication with Cuba and I have good news that our
brother comandante President Chavez is already in physiotherapy in order
to return to his country," Morales said during a speech in Bolivia's
congress broadcast on Telesur. "We hope to be alongside him at
international events as we have always been."
The 58-year-old leader missed his Jan. 10 inauguration and hasn't been
seen in public since stepping off an airplane in Cuba on Dec. 10 for
surgery to treat an undisclosed cancer. Morales's comments are the latest
indication that Chavez's health is improving since Vice President Nicolas
Maduro said on Jan. 20 that the former paratrooper will soon enter a new
stage in his recovery.
Elias Jaua, who was appointed foreign minister last week, said in a
posting on his Twitter account yesterday that he met with Chavez at the
CIMEQ hospital in Cuba and received instructions from the president ahead
of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit that will
be held in Santiago, Chile this week.
Argenis Chavez, the president's brother, also said Chavez would return to
Venezuela shortly yesterday, according to a report by the Associated
Press, which he later denied.
The constitution states that elections must be held within 30 days should
Chavez step down or die. Before departing for Havana, Chavez urged his
followers to vote for Maduro should he be unable to continue at the helm
of South America's largest oil producer.
The best scenario for Venezuela's government would be for Chavez to come
back to Caracas, be sworn in for his new term and then resign, Barclays
Plc said today in an e-mailed report.
"Besides Maduro enjoying the advantage of being the incumbent, this would
lead to a presidential election in the very short term, affording him the
sympathy effect created by Chavez's health problems, and would still find
the opposition in a weak position after the two defeats they suffered last
year," Barclays analysts Alejandro Arreaza and Alejandro Grisanti wrote in
Chavez has permission to be away for a "prudent time period," Supreme
Court President Luisa Estella Morales said yesterday, without specifying a
limit beyond which the court would consider new measures. The idea that
Chavez could take the oath from Cuba "was never on the table," nor has the
court contemplated sending a panel of doctors to evaluate his health,
Morales said during an interview on state television.
"It would make no sense to invade in a disrespectful manner the head of
state's privacy by sending a medical board," Morales said.
Yields on Venezuela's benchmark 9.25 percent bonds due in 2027 fell five
basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 9.28 percent at 11:29 a.m. in
Caracas. The price rose 0.36 cents to 99.72 cents on the dollar.
To contact the reporters on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at
firstname.lastname@example.org; Nathan Crooks in Caracas at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at
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