CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez is breathing with greater difficulty as a new and severe respiratory infection has taken hold, Venezuela’s government said, describing the cancer-stricken president’s condition as “very delicate.”
A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old socialist leader’s deteriorating health.
CARACAS, Venezuela — Even in death, Hugo Chavez’s orders are being followed. The man he anointed to succeed him, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, will continue to run Venezuela as interim president and be the governing socialists’ candidate in an election to be called within 30 days.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua confirmed that Tuesday, just hours after Maduro, tears running down his face, announced the death of Chavez, the larger-than-life former paratroop officer who had presided over Venezuela as virtually a one-man show for more than 14 years.
Polls show that Venezuela’s presidential elections on Oct. 7 could be the closest in recent history.
A string of negative headlines, including a deadly explosion at a refinery, is leading some voters to question whether President Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian revolution can effectively manage the oil-rich country.
Brent crude prices didn’t move much as traders absorbed the death of Hugo Chavez who ruled the world’s sixth largest OPEC producer.
Venezuela is home to the world’s largest proven oil reserves of around 296.5 billion barrels, but its production has steadily fallen under Mr. Chavez who diverted Venezuela’s oil revenues to his pet projects and weakened the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela, which is responsible for developing the country’s enormous riches.
The ETF Professor
After the close of U.S. markets Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will not be sworn in on Thursday January 10. The likely reason is his ailing health. Chavez has been in Cuba for several weeks recovering from a fourth procedure to treat cancer.