Chavez recovery will be ‘difficult’

Updated 14 December 2012
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Chavez recovery will be ‘difficult’

CARACAS: Venezuela’s Vice President and acting leader Nicolas Maduro warned the nation of a tough road ahead, saying President Hugo Chavez faced a difficult recovery from cancer surgery.
As of Wednesday night, Chavez was in stable condition, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said in a radio and TV broadcast.
But his six-hour operation Tuesday “was complex, difficult, delicate, which tells us that the post-surgery process will also be complex and difficult,” Maduro, Chavez’s handpicked successor, said hours earlier.
The president “was very clear” that the country must be “prepared to face a tough and difficult situation” that can be overcome only if Venezuelans remain “united,” said Maduro, who was flanked by senior government officials.
In one flash of confidence he did say: “Sooner rather than later, we will have our comandante here,” but he gave no indication of when Chavez might return to Venezuela following Tuesday’s fourth round of cancer surgery.
The type, location and severity of Chavez’s cancer have been kept secret over the past 18 months, fueling rumors and uncertainty in Venezuela.
Chavez flew to Havana for surgery on Monday after revealing that his cancer had returned just two months after his triumphant re-election to a new six-year term that begins on Jan. 10.
The 58 year-old president was first diagnosed with the disease in June 2011. After three rounds of surgery, in addition to chemotherapy and radiation, Chavez had assured Venezuelans earlier this year that he was cancer-free.
The operation “ended correctly and successfully,” Maduro, to whom Chavez delegated power before flying to Havana, had told Venezuelans late Tuesday.
The vice president described the procedure as a “corrective surgery of a lesion” that occurred in the pelvic region, but did not elaborate.
Without formally handing over the presidency, Chavez said he was delegating the country’s “high political command” to Maduro, 50, while he was gone, and said the vice president would succeed him if he became incapacitated.



Under Venezuela’s constitution, elections must be held within 30 days if the president dies or is incapacitated.
A leader of Chavez’s party, Diosdado Cabello, urged the armed forces to stay united and watch out for any attempt to destabilize the country. He said Chavez himself had warned of this before leaving for Cuba.
“Patriots, those of us who love our country, must stay together,” Cabello said.
But amid all the pro-Chavez fervor, the opposition struck a discordant note.


Dozens of Rohingya come ashore in Indonesia

Updated 15 min 2 sec ago
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Dozens of Rohingya come ashore in Indonesia

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia: About 80 Rohingya in a wooden boat arrived in Indonesia Friday, officials said, the latest batch of the vulnerable minority to come ashore in the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation.
The group landed in Aceh province on Sumatra island, just weeks after dozens of the persecuted Muslim minority from Myanmar came ashore in neighboring Malaysia.
All appeared to be in good condition, according to local police chief Riza Yulianto, who added that it was not clear how long they had been at sea.
“Thank God they’re all healthy even though a few are just children,” he said.
“We have given them food and we are thoroughly checking their health one by one.”
It has been rare for Rohingya migrants to attempt the sea routes south since Thai authorities clamped down on regional trafficking networks in 2015, sparking a crisis across Southeast Asia as large numbers were abandoned at sea.
But there have been concerns desperate migrants might start taking to the high seas again after mainly Buddhist Myanmar launched a new crackdown last year that forced about 700,000 members of the Muslim minority to flee to Bangladesh.
This month, a group including two Rohingya men, aged 28 and 33, a 20-year-old woman, a 15-year-old girl and an eight-year old boy were spotted in a small boat off the coast of southern Thailand and Myanmar, some 325 kilometers (176 miles) from Aceh.
Local Indonesian fishermen took them back to Aceh where they were later taken into custody by immigration officials.
The group said they had been traveling with two dozen other Rohingya but got separated and were stranded at sea for about 20 days.
They had gotten lost with five others who later starved to death and their bodies were thrown overboard, officials said at the time.
In 2015, hundreds of Rohingya came ashore in Aceh, where they were welcomed in the staunchly conservative Islamic province.
Indonesia tends to accept asylum seekers but they are usually barred from working and often spend years in immigration centers.