From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Venezuelan Election Outlook Complicated by Chávez Cancer News
President of Venezuala Hugo Chávez confirmed the discovery of a new tumor in his pelvic region on February 21, and said he will undergo surgery in Cuba. Speaking to Venezuelan television, Chávez said the tumor could be malignant, and was found in the same location as a previous tumor he had removed last year. Chávez’s announcement comes after a weekend during which officials denied media rumors that Chávez went to Cuba to receive medical treatment, and months of Chávez repeatedly declaring he is cured of cancer. Foreign Policy’s Transitions Blog discusses the implications of Chávez’s new diagnosis, especially in an election year, asking in the headline “How do you campaign against a cancer victim?”
Read an AS/COA Online News Analysis on Henrique Capriles Radonski's victory in the opposition primary.
Read an AS/COA Hemispheric Update on what to expect from Venezuela's upcoming presidential election.
Homeless in Venezuelan Election Spotlight
NPR’s All Things Considered discussed Venezuela’s housing crisis, which Venezuela’s opposition sees as an election issue. Though the Chávez government promised housing for Venezuela’s homeless, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski points out that official data show fewer homes have been built by the Chávez government than any previous administration. More than 2 million Venezuelans are homeless out of a total population of 29 million.
Venezuelan Regulator Shutters 35 Radio Stations in Three Months
The Caracas Chronicles blog discusses a report in Venezuela's El Nacional on the Chávez government’s closure of 35 radio stations in the past three months. Though the reasons for the closures vary, the author believes it is part of a strategy to limit the opposition's media outreach. “With most TV off-limits, radio was the one remaining medium the Capriles campaign could count on to reach a mass audience.”
Read an Americas Quarterly web exclusive by Caracas Chronicles author Juan Nagel on Capriles' vision for Venezuela.
U.S. Vice President to Visit Honduras, Mexico in March
The White House announced today that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Mexico and Honduras from March 4 to 6. In both countries he is expected to discuss April’s Summit of the Americas, to be held in Cartagena, Colombia. The Mexico stop will focus on bilateral cooperation while the Honduras visit will involve meetings with Central American leaders.