Mérida, 4th February 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan government officials have sent signals of increasing confidence about President Hugo Chavez’s successful recovery from his cancer operation last 11 December.
Chavez has been in Havana, Cuba, recovering since the operation, and has yet to be seen in public. The surgical intervention was his fourth for cancer in eighteen months.
Yesterday defence minister Diego Molero Bellavia said that Chavez was in “the best moment” so far in his recovery, after visiting the Venezuelan president over the weekend.
The comments were made at an event commemorating the anniversary of the 4 February 1992 civic-military coup attempt, led by Chavez. Despite the coup’s failure it was the event which first launched Chavez into the public light.
Diosdado Cabello, a close ally of Chavez and leader of the National Assembly, also announced that Chavez’s recovery was “gradual and constant,” adding, “The Commander Chavez’s health is in full recovery”.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro yesterday showed a document bearing Chavez’s signature, which had been brought back from Cuba by Cabello on Sunday morning. It authorised financing for the takeover of certain holdings in mixed companies to strengthen the functioning of state oil giant PDVSA.
“We, fortunately, are functioning,” Maduro said. “We have a president governing and with him we’re a revolution in political power”.
The Venezuelan opposition has criticised Chavez’s absence, arguing that his inability to attend his 10 January swearing-in ceremony and the continuance of his government in power marks a “violation” of the constitution, with some sectors calling it a “state coup”.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that a delay in the ceremony while Chavez recovers was legal, a decision subsequently backed by the Organization of American States (OAS).
A recent national opinion poll by private Venezuelan firm Hinterlaces found that 67% of Venezuelans currently hold a positive view of Hugo Chavez, while 56% of respondents felt the government had sufficient capacity to govern the country while the president recovers.
40% of respondents also expressed the opinion that crime was the most pressing issue that Vice President Maduro should tackle, while 30% felt it was to “unite the country” and 14% “to boost the economy”.