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President Ch?vez is Fully Able to Continue Governing

The Vice President of Venezuela, Elías Jaua, said Wednesday that President Hugo Chávez is fully able to continue leading the government, rejecting claims that a temporary absence would be necessary.

On Tuesday, Chávez said that he will need surgery after a lesion of 2 centimeters in diameter was detected in the same region of his body from which he had a tumor removed last June.

“[The President is] in full possession of his faculties to continue heading the government, as he did during his last procedure. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a mechanism for the decree of a temporary absence,” Jaua said in an interview on the state-run broadcaster Venezolana de Televisión.

He emphasized that a temporary absence would only occur if the president were unable to govern the country for a given period of time, for extreme reasons such as a kidnapping or insufficient physical or mental capabilities to continue his mandate.

The vice president recalled that right-wing sectors in Venezuela have attempted to generate destabilization using extra-constitutional means such as affirming that there is a temporary absence.

“These sectors that today masquerade as democrats, as progressives, and say that they will take a peaceful path await the slightest opportunity to reveal their true face,” Jaua said.

He also expressed that the Venezuelan opposition is aware of the great leadership of President Chávez and cannot defeat him at the polls.

Jaua said there is no secrecy with regard to the health of the president, and “he has always spoken truthfully to the Venezuelan people.”

“We are not hiding anything. The president has demonstrated during his entire political trajectory, since he appeared on February 4 [1992], that he always speaks the truth,” Jaua said.

The vice president also indicated that the head of state will seek the permission of lawmakers in the National Assembly to leave the country for more than five days to begin his process of recovery.

AVN / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / February 23, 2012

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