Chavez suffers lung woes as aides allege ‘psychological war’

Agence France Presse

Published — Friday 4 January 2013

Last update 4 January 2013 10:37 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

CARACAS: Venezuela’s government accused opposition leaders of waging a “psychological war” to destabilize the country, as its cancer-stricken president, Hugo Chavez, battles a serious lung infection.
The hard-line stance was adopted after Vice President Nicolas Maduro returned from a visit with the ailing Chavez in Cuba, where he is suffering from complications more than three weeks after undergoing cancer surgery.
Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said a “severe pulmonary infection” that Chavez developed after the surgery had led to a “respiratory insufficiency” requiring strict adherence to his treatment.
Villegas then leveled the charge that the president’s health had become the target of a campaign to destabilize the government and finish off its socialist revolution.
The government “warns the Venezuelan people about the psychological war that the transnational media complex has unleashed around the health of the chief of state, with the ultimate goal of destabilizing the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” he said in a televised statement.
The statement came amid rising demands at home for a detailed accounting of Chavez’s condition and whether he is fit to take the oath of office January 10 for another six year term.
Venezuela’s constitution calls for new elections to be held within 30 days if the president is unable to take the oath of office or dies during his first four years in office.
But Maduro and National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello, the regime’s number two and three leaders, made clear on their return from Cuba that they were not preparing for a transfer of power.
“Here there is only one transition and it began at least six years ago and it was decreed by comandante Hugo Chavez,” Maduro said, referring to the launch in 2006 of the president’s socialist revolution.
Maduro and Cabello spoke on Venezuelan state television, as they toured a coffee packaging plant in Caracas that had been taken over by the state.
Both men went out of their way to deny rumors of an internal power struggle between them, with Maduro saying they had sworn before Chavez that they would remain united.
“We are here more united than ever,” said Maduro, who is Chavez’s handpicked successor. “And we have sworn before comandante Hugo Chavez, and we reaffirmed to him today in our oath ... that we would be united with our people.”
Referring to the reported rift, Cabello said the opposition would have to wait “2000 years for that to happen” and said “no conciliation is possible with this opposition.”
Maduro accused the opposition of “lies and manipulation, a campaign to try to create uncertainty.”
“We know that the United States is where these manipulations are being managed,” he said. “They think that their time has come. And we have entered a kind of crazy hour of offensive by the right, here and internationally.”
It was unclear whether Maduro was referring to US-based Venezuelans or the US government.
A leading opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, who was defeated by Chavez in October’s presidential election, has indicated that he would be willing to accept a delay in next week’s scheduled inauguration ceremony.
Capriles, former governor of the state of Miranda, is seen as a possible challenger to whomever wears the presidential sash at the next election.
Meanwhile, in Washington on Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland denied claims that US officials were meddling in Venezuelan affairs, but acknowledged they had been in contact with Venezuelans “from across the political spectrum.”
“There’s no ‘made-in-America’ solution here. This has to be something that Venezuelans have to do,” Nuland said.
“The message we are giving to Venezuelans of all stripes (is) that we want to see any transition be democratic, be constitutional, be open, be transparent, be legal within Venezuela, and that it has to be decided by Venezuelans.”
Chavez was re-elected October 7 despite his debilitating battle with cancer and the strongest opposition challenge yet to his 14-year rule in Venezuela, an OPEC member with the world’s largest proven oil reserves.
But he has not been seen in public since he underwent a long and complicated surgery 23 days ago for a recurrence of cancer, and officials have acknowledged that his recovery has been difficult.
The rector of the Central University of Venezuela, Cecilia Garcia Arocha, proposed sending a team of medical experts to Havana to assess his condition. Opposition leader Antonio Ledezma said it should include opposition figures.
Cancer was first detected by Cuban doctors in June 2011, but the Venezuelan government has never revealed what form of the disease he is battling.
Information about his progress has come in vague, often upbeat comments and tweets by Maduro and a handful of other aides and close Chavez allies.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The parliaments from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are intent on developing plans to tackle several problems in the region, including the Palestinian crisis, and the situation in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.This is according to Abdu...
JEDDAH: Greater efforts are needed to tackle terrorism in the light of the escalation in attacks by extremist groups across the world, said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior.Speaking at the 34th meeting of the Gu...
RIYADH: An unidentified person died in the Rimah province of the Riyadh region and 25 people were injured in road accidents in the capital on Wednesday as rain continued to lash the city.The Civil Defense in Riyadh rescued 85 people from flooded area...
TEHRAN: The body of a senior Iranian diplomat missing since the Haj stampede in September has been identified, Iranian media said Wednesday, quashing speculation he was kidnapped.The corpse of Iran’s former ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi,...
JEDDAH: The College of American Pathologists (CAP) has ranked the laboratory of the National Guard’s King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh as one of the “best in the world.”Abdulaziz Al-Ajlan, head of the hospital’s pathology and laboratory sc...
JEDDAH: The General Directorate of Passports has announced that fingerprints are mandatory for Saudis to acquire or renew passports and national identity cards, a local publication reported Wednesday. The rule will apply to both male and female natio...
RIYADH: A group of doctors at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) here successfully performed surgery on a Polish infant on Tuesday, following a directive of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.One-year-old Jakub, accompanied by his fath...
JEDDAH: The White House has praised the efforts of Saudi Arabia to cut off funding for the Daesh terrorist group, local media reported Wednesday.“We have seen some significant international effort to eliminate funding lines off Daesh. This effort is...
RIYADH: The World Health Organization has announced that the Kingdom has become the first Arab country and the tenth internationally to join the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products. The announcement was made by the director genera...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has banned teachers, administrators, parents and students from taking videos or pictures inside schools, with only officially sanctioned documentation allowed.The ban applies to all public and private schools and kin...
RIYADH: In Riyadh, the temperature dipped to 16 degree Celsius on Wednesday noon and darkness enveloped the streets as the sky was overcast with thick clouds. Many low-lying areas and streets were flooded due to the heavy rain on Wednesday and interm...
JEDDAH: Social media is not always a waste of time, particularly for students. An English teacher at a school in Ahad Rafidah in Asir region has been using WhatsApp to communicate with his students and teach them words and pronunciation.According to...
RIYADH: The fifth edition of National Urban Heritage Forum (NUHF) will open on Monday in Qassim under the patronage of Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal in the presence of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Natio...
RIYADH: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia leads the GCC countries in terms of spending on telecom and IT services in 2014, with a total expenditure of SR112 billion, says a report released by the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC)....
RIYADH: The Saudi Control and Investigation Board (CIB) has detected violations of rules and regulations in 903 schools in the provinces and cities across the Kingdom. “The violations include hiring of non-Saudi teachers and foreigners holding admini...

Events & Exhibitions

Stay Connected