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Chavez’s Family and Venezuelan Government Respond to Claims His Death was “Planned”

Merida, March 13th 2013 ( –  After the opposition candidate for president, Henrique Capriles suggested that Chavez’s death was “planned”  on Sunday night, members of Chavez’s family and the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela have criticised his comments and called for him to retract them.

“Nicolas you had the nerve to go out in front of the cameras and play with the hope of millions of Venezuelans...who knows when President Chavez died,”  Capriles said on Sunday as he accepted the MUD opposition’s nomination of him for presidential candidate in the 14 April elections.

Capriles alleged that Chavez's death and funeral was all “planned... everything ... was coldly calculated”.

The opposition candidate said the timetable for the presidential elections “came out within minutes...they have been planning for weeks when they would tell Venezuelans that the situation of the president was irreversible... and now they use the president’s body for political campaigning”.

The National Electoral Council announced the schedule for new presidential elections on 9 March, four days after Chavez died.

When journalists asked Capriles what his evidence was for such claims, he only responded that his “doubts are based on questions that many Venezuelans are asking themselves”.

One of Chavez’s daughters, Maria Gabriela Chavez Colmenares, replied yesterday in a letter:

“I’ve never gotten directly involved in political issues, but at this delicate time... I feel the need to raise my voice against those who want to play with my family’s pain, my people’s pain, and above all the memory of my ...father.”

“It’s inconceivable to think that a whole family; children, siblings, grandchildren, parents, has put itself up to such a huge lie,” she said.

“On Friday 1 of March I was with him [Hugo Chavez], praying, and later I went down to mass to inaugurate the chapel in the military hospital, then I went back to see him, together with Minister Jorge Arreaza... and although he was tired he was giving government instructions and asking for information about the situation in the country. It’s not just, it’s not human, it’s not acceptable that now they [the opposition] try to say that we have been lying about the date he [Chavez] passed away,” Chavez Colmenares wrote.

“With all the sincerity of the destroyed soul of a daughter who loved her father endlessly, I tell you that ... he died fighting and he died in his country on 5 March 2013...exactly one week before my birthday,” she wrote.

Hugo Chavez’s brother, Argenis, also responded to Capriles’ claims yesterday, saying the Venezuelan government “never lied to the country” with the information it provided on the progression of Chavez’s illness.

He urged Capriles to retract his statements, saying, “when you say the phrase, ‘who knows when Chavez died’, you hint at the idea that my mother and father took part in something that no one ever thinks could happen, the death of a son”.

The head of Nicolas Maduro’s election campaign, Jorge Rodriguez, also urged Capriles to retract his statement, saying, “If you have any honour left, take it back, that inhuman barbarity that you said about the death of the President”.

Capriles responded to Chavez Colmenares’ letter saying, “In all these years I’ve never offended the president or his family, if anything I said was understood like that by his family, I ask to be excused... I don’t play the game of offending families, like has been done with mine”. 

Published on Mar 13th 2013 at 5.59pm