While Chavez remained in Cuba on Friday recovering from surgery that removed a cancerous tumor, he sought to assure his supporters that he remains in charge and expects to fully recover. "We're optimistic and we know we'll get out of this," Chavez said.
Questions remain about how sick Chavez is. He announced Thursday night that a surgery had successfully removed the tumor in his pelvic region, though he didn't give details about what kind of cancer he had or say how soon he might return home.
Vice President Elias Jaua assured Venezuelans on Friday that there was no need for Chavez to cede his duties as president. "The president is going to be (in Cuba) for the time period his doctors prescribe," Jaua said, noting that the National Assembly has authorized Chavez to remain in Cuba for as long as needed.
Venezuelan state television aired prerecorded video of a meeting in Cuba on Wednesday in which Chavez was shown discussing road projects and other issues with his brother Adan, his foreign minister and a military chief.
The effort to portray business as usual comes after three weeks of uncertainty in which Chavez was largely out of sight and speculation was rife that he might be seriously ill. Before his speech on Thursday, Venezuelans had heard only that Chavez had undergone surgery to remove a pelvic abscess.
Some analysts predict that if Chavez's illness worsens, his socialist-inspired Bolivarian Revolution movement might face troubles due to the lack of a clear successor.
"Chavismo without Chavez doesn't exist," said Joel D. Hirst, an international affairs fellow at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The revolution is really about one man." "If for some reason Chavez was not able to continue as president or to run in the 2012 election, it would produce a tectonic shift in Latin American politics."
If Chavez were to die or resign, the vice president would serve the remainder of Chavez's term.
But Chavez is unlikely to step down because dictators and “strongmen” like Chavez feel they are the chosen ones, that they're the supreme ones.
Live Long and Prosper....