Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, has been forced to Cuba for medical attention for the third time due to concerns of a cancer recurrence.
Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, has confirmed that Chavez was under going an operation for the cancer.
Early in his administration, Chavez initiated an agreement with Cuba in which Venezuela agreed to provide 96,000 barrels of oil per day to Cuba (at what has been described as “very favorable prices”) in exchange for the services of medical professionals provided by the state of Cuba. Venezuela has been ranked as one of the most corrupt regimes in the region.
Ironically, Fidel Castro himself escaped Cuba’s doctors, to seek medical services in Madrid, Spain for treatment when facing serious illness in 2007.
In the past, Chavez has blamed the United States (presumably the CIA) for his cancer, as well as an ailment affecting Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner which was initially also believe to be cancer.
Venezuela’s Vice President and Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, has reportedly already taken over the day to day operations of the state, after being named a successor by Chavez before leaving for treatment in Cuba.
Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chavez in October of this year, scoffed at the notion that Chavez had designated a successor, saying “When a person leaves his position the public has the last word, because we’re in Venezuela and not Cuba.”
Maduro promised to carry on in Chavez’s absence, stating, “Chavez has been and is a father to us. He trained us in anti-imperialism and ideas of a socialist society.”