In the wake of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’ address yesterday evening from Cuba in which he confirmed rumors of a battle with cancer, Venezuela’s army chief, General Henry Rangel Silva, is reaffirming the continued stability of the country.
Gen. Silva said on Venezuelan state television that, “We have seen our comandante thinner than usual but still standing. The country is calm.” Venezuelan Vice President Elías Jaua assured the public that Chávez’ administration would remain united and robust, and would continue implementing the policies that Chávez has long championed.
Chávez didn’t specify what type of cancer he has nor where the tumor that was surgically removed two weeks ago was located. He also didn’t provide an indication of when he would return from convalescence in Cuba. A regional summit on July 5 marking 200 years of Venezuelan independence—at which Chávez was scheduled to appear—has been postponed.
Chávez’ governing from abroad—especially in less-than-perfect health—during his longest absence from Venezuela during his 12-year presidency has also raised charges of unconstitutionality. Yet, financial markets reacted positively to Chávez’ address, with Venezuela’s benchmark bond increasing by 2.0 points.