Former Venezuela Vice President Diosdado Cabello was re-elected President of the National Assembly. The move paves the way for Cabello to take over as President of Venezuela should President Hugo Chavez be declared too ill to be re-sworn in and be unable to name a new Vice President for his new term.
CARACAS -- Diosdado Cabello, a former Vice President of ailing Venezuela President Hugo Chavez who participated along with him in the failed February 1992 coup attempt, was re-elected as National Assembly President.
The move also paves the way for Cabello to head Venezuela should Chavez be declared to ill to be inaugurated for his new term and then name a new Vice President. Nicolas Maduro, the former Foreign Minister who worked his way up from bus driver as a labor leader, is the current Vice President and Chavez designated Maduro as his chosen heir should Chavez fail to survive his cancer; but the Vice President is an appointed position and the Presidential term -- and thus Maduro's appointment -- ends January 10, according to a ruling made by a Chavez appointed Supreme Court 10 years ago.
According to the Venezuela constitution, Chavez is to be sworn in before the National Assembly for his new term on January 10. Chavez, however, remains in a Cuban hospital after undergoing his fourth surgery for an as yet undisclosed form of cancer. He has not been publicly seen or heard from since December 11.
If President-elect Chavez is not able to be sworn in for his new term, the Constitution mandates that the President of the National Assembly Cabello would take over. Analysts familiar with the situation believe that the National Assembly will next grant an extension to Chavez because of his illness.
"Venezuela now has the equivalent of Schrodinger's cat as President," says Russ Dallen, head of investment bank Caracas Capital Markets. "We don't know if Chavez is alive or dead. Some reports say Chavez is basically in a coma or on life support. The government keeps saying that his situation is 'delicate' and that he will return 'sooner rather than later.' But the fact is that we have neither seen nor heard from Chavez in almost four weeks and we don't know what his real situation is and that is no way to run a country -- especially with other people ruling in his name from Cuba."