Miami: Experts discuss health implications of Chavez’s

23 September 2011

Venezuela held on Thursday, the center of attention of experts, politicians and businessmen in South Florida. And the cancer being treated President Hugo Chavez was the main topic of discussion at a conference organized by the University of Miami.

A group of academics, pollsters and politicians said at the conference “Venezuela in transition?” Organized by the Center for Hemispheric Studies at the University of Miami, Chávez’s disease has led to a period of uncertainty in the South American nation, but so far has not significantly affected its popularity.

“More than we are in a transition phase uncertainties,” said Venezuelan pollster Luis Vicente Leon, president of Datanalisis.

“The first uncertainty is how severe the disease Chavez.’s Obviously sick, the question is what kind of disease, what type of cancer. We have not the faintest idea,” said Leon.

Sitting with two other panelists, Leon explained that uncertainties are others of how it affects the disease to the popularity of the president, who would replace him in case you needed, how they organize political opposition ahead of presidential elections in October next year and hand over power if Chavez.

Over about five hours the researchers analyzed a large audience against the political situation in the South American nation since Chavez revealed his illness and possible political and economic scenarios that could happen against the general elections in October 2012.

Venezuelan authorities do not usually comment on these events. The Associated Press tried to contact the press officer of the Vice President but did not answer calls and in the ministry of communication required to send a letter asking for comments, which would be promptly answered if someone agreed to do so.

Chávez announced on June 30 from Havana, through a chain of radio and television, which had undergone ten days before an operation to remove a cancerous tumor in the pelvic region.

In recent months Chavez has stated on numerous occasions about their illness and treatment, but did not specify where he spotted the cancer and medical prognosis.

Between July and September, the ruling has been subjected to four cycles of chemotherapy. The latter applied it this week in Havana.

The Venezuelan opposition has maintained respect for the suffering of Chavez, but has repeatedly demanded that the prosecution should be separated temporarily and delegate to the vice president to attend treatment.

Among the panelists of the conference were also de Leon, Armando Durán, a columnist for the newspaper El Nacional de Venezuela, Alejandro Grisanti, an economist at Barclays Capital in New York, Roger Noriega, former Assistant Secretary of U.S. State Western Hemisphere Affairs; John Maisto, former U.S. ambassador in Venezuela, and Carlos Romero, a professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

The conference was held at a hotel in this city adjacent to Miami, to a large audience which was composed mainly of businessmen, academics and politicians, many Venezuelans.

José Manuel Puente, a professor at the Institute of Higher Administration Studies in Caracas, Leon agreed with the uncertainty created by the illness of Chavez.

“Nobody knows if the president is really sick, how sick, if you can come back and win the election,” said Puente, and clarified that it is a factor “unpredictable” for the future of their country.

Romero, meanwhile, said that Chavez “has handled the subject very well (of health), has become an issue metareligioso.”

Unlike Leo, who said the surveys did not show significant changes in the president’s popularity, Romero said the disease “has benefited over Chávez” by the phenomenon of shame that generates in the population.

“If he recovered it yet another avalanche of popularity,” he said.

But for Leon, any change in the popularity should be attributed to factors other than health.

“We do not give us a change (in the popularity of Chávez) statistically significant. This is not to say that has not changed.’s Just that the changes do not occur so quickly,” said Leon, referring to the impact of Chávez’s Disease in popularity.

He clarified, however, that the next survey will be released on Friday.

Referring to the health of Venezuelan President Noriega, who currently serves on the company Vision Americas LLC of Washington, said that “it is very important for everyone to prepare for a world without Chavez.”

“According to my sources his condition is very serious and we must think of a new reality,” said former U.S. official, without disclosing its sources.