Chavez 'heir' Maduro steps up profile

With Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba, his designated heir Nicolas Maduro has been spotlighting his own leadership in case of an early presidential vote, observers say.

"Today, Maduro is completely different from when he was just the foreign minister. He is the vice president but he is also the handpicked successor (of Chavez) and the defacto acting president," said Luis Vicente Leon, who leads the Datanalisis pollster.

Since Chavez headed to Cuba on December 10 for a fourth round of surgery since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, Maduro has worked on honing his skills as a higher-profile leader in his own right in this OPEC member sitting atop the world's largest proven oil reserves.

Maduro has lashed out at the opposition, Chavez-style, on national television. And he has combatively pledged to fight to defend the socialist revolution that Chavez, a leftist ex-paratrooper, launched.

"I'm sorry I have voice trouble, from working so much these days, and after a cold I had that I am not over," a weary-looking Maduro admitted at a ceremony he presided over on Friday, swearing in pro-Chavez governors from three Andean states.

Chavez, who was re-elected in October, has picked Maduro to fill in should his cancer make it impossible for the president to be sworn in for a new term on January 10.

The Venezuelan leader urged his party to support Maduro in the event of an early presidential election should he be unable to return to power.

The 50-year-old vice president, a former bus driver and union activist, "needs to validate his leadership, because it could in the near future be an issue in a political campaign," Leon said.

DataStrategia chief Carmen Beatriz Fernandez noted that Maduro has played a prominent role at swearing-in ceremonies, and in speeches has "taken on the tone of someone who is on the campaign trail."

"He has been anointed as Chavez's heir, and now he is taking up that role actively. He is preparing himself for a presidential election in the near future," she added.

The vice president still feels the need to tread carefully on the issue of taking over the helm.

"I am just a vice president. We have a president who is on duty and his name is Hugo Chavez Frias," he shouted to supporters in Tachira.

Leon said that nevertheless Maduro has dropped his once "moderate" profile to make heavy use of words like "bourgeoisie" and "imperialism," references to Chavez's twin foes of wealthy Venezuelans and the United States, which he has often used as scapegoats to fire up crowds of mostly poor supporters.

"Maduro used to look much more moderate, calmer, but now he seems to be imitating Chavez's role, and trying to be more belligerent," Fernandez said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello urged Venezuelans Saturday not to be fixated of the date of January 10 when Chavez's searing-in ceremony to a third term is scheduled to take place.

Responding to multiple queries about what would happen if Chavez, 58, fails to show up, Cabello insisted that "the date of January 10 does not determine the president-elect's absolute absence."

According to the speaker, if intervening circumstances prevent the president from showing up on that date, the constitution allows him to be sworn in before Supreme Court justices.

And, Cabello added, the constitution "does not say when and where" this kind of inauguration should take place, giving some currency to rumors that the justices could be flown to Havana, if Chavez were unable to return to Caracas.

"Commandante Hugo Chavez will continue to be our president," the speaker concluded.

The face of the Latin American left for more than a decade and a firebrand critic of US "imperialism," Chavez asserted before embarking on his arduous re-election campaign earlier this year that he was cancer-free.

But he was later forced to admit he had suffered a recurrence of the disease. He returned to Cuba, a key Venezuelan ally, for surgery and follow-up treatment.

Venezuela has never said what type of cancer Chavez has, nor which organs are affected, but doctors removed a tumor from his pelvic region last year.

Maduro said he had been told by prosecutor Cilia Flores, who had just returned from Havana and had been in contact with the Chavez family, that "the president's recovery is consolidating with every passing day."

But the remarks suggested that, for one reason or another, the Venezuelan number two has not had direct telephone conversations with Chavez.

A medical report made public by the Cuban government on Thursday said Chavez was going through a "gradual stabilization process" after suffering a respiratory track infection, which was now "being treated and controlled."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

  • CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike
    CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike

    The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) appears to have released erroneous data on the allowed tuition and other fee increases in Metro Manila for the incoming academic year. On the list of the 51 approved higher education institutions (HEI) allowed to impose hikes, CHED pegged the average increase in tuition at P32.34 per unit and the average increase in other fees at P34.79. However, a Philippine STAR re-computation showed that the actual average approved tuition increases in Metro Manila …

  • Leni Robredo may run for senator
    Leni Robredo may run for senator

    The widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo admitted that running for higher office in 2016 had crossed her mind. Camarines Sur Third District Rep. Leni Robredo said she is focused on her re-election, but there is always the possibility that she would seek higher office. “There is always that possibility… because the filing (of certificate of candidacy) is in October yet,” Robredo said in an interview after her speech during the 23rd Girl Scouts of the Philippines Council …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options