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So You Think You Can Die?

While the dying Venezuelan president worries about his succession plans, or lack thereof, what will the 1.2 million Venezuelans living abroad do after his imminent demise?

By Simón Gómez Dec 10, 2012 6:07PM

Since he first took power back in 1999, the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has been pushing the end of his term further and further into future. First, he drafted a new constitution that increased terms from five- to seven-years with the possibility of one immediate reelection. In those days, he claimed he would leave after 2014 and then he amended the new constitution to include indefinite reelections in a complete, obvious, and shameless power grab. His new planned departure date? 2021. In reality you may want to invert the last two digits. Mr. Chavez’s health is once again in question.


No doubt Mr. Chávez wanted to indefinitely perpetuate his stay in power and he may have done just that. It’s just that in his case, indefinitely may end a lot sooner than he expected. I have often doubted the sincerity of the pronouncements about Chavez’s ailments and have wondered if everything was just a ploy to touch the heart of his eroding base, but the overwhelming amount of information is now decisively telling otherwise.


Earlier this month, the Venezuelan president gave an unusually short (by Chavez standards) televised speech announcing the return of his cancer and his plans to return to Cuba for another operation and further treatment. Spanish newspaper ABC reported in its online edition that Mr. Chavez has had some very rough episodes and that chemotherapy is no longer option. It further reported that a medical team was flown from Russia to Cuba in order to provide Mr. Chavez with the best hospice care the Venezuelan treasury can buy.


In his speech to the Venezuelan people, Mr. Chavez stated that if he is momentarily impaired, Vice President Nicolas Maduro will take over his position and move the revolutionary process forward … Whatever that means. Maduro, the eighth and last of the VPS secured under Chavez, is a taciturn former bus driver whose prior service as Foreign Minister can at best be described as lackluster. It is curious that Chavez felt the necessity to publicly make such a statement considering that the constitution in its 23rd article establishes exactly that.


Chavez may be seeing in his last days what has been obvious for the rest of us for a while now: Chavez death will be also the death of his revolution. There are too many strong men lurking in the wings to take over for the dying president and they most likely will cancel each other out. Incidentally, Maduro is not one of them.


In the meantime, some of the 1.2 million Venezuelans living abroad are wondering what to do once Chavez is finally a memory. Would they go back? Would they stay in their new countries building on their new lives? If you are a Venezuelan, we would love to read your opinion and know what you intend to do and why.



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You can read a version of this note in Spanish in MSN Latino Noticias

6Comments
Dec 12, 2012 9:18AM
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We left Venezuela in 2001, our two boys do not identify with Venezuela anymore.  They don't even remember anymore most of their cousins, aunties and uncles.  If Venezuela was a safe place to live me and my husband would consider retirement in Venezuela but I am afraid we will be elderly when that happens.  So, we will not go back....GRACIAS CHAVEZ Y SU ROBOLUCION!  (After his dead telephone calls from Venezuela to Hell will be local)
Dec 12, 2012 6:54PM
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Even if Chavez would not be longer around, Venezuela's problems will likely continue for a long while. Unfortunately his government has reinforced many anti-values in the society. Yes, there are still many decent people down there, but corruption, delinquency, egoism, opportunism,  total absence of courtesy and compassion are somehow dominant characteristics and perhaps have become part of the mindset of the current society. Those characteristics are hard to change in the short term. Even if there would be a correct shared vision to move the country in a progressive direction, it will take several years to assimilate those changes.  As a Venezuelan I would love to see that happening, but I am doubtful. Who wants to return under those conditions? 
Dec 13, 2012 5:11PM
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The new emigrants will go back, old emigrants don't. 
If I were the new government of Venezuela, I would create some kind of stimulus to the people to comeback. The reason is simple. Emigrants has learned a lot and new fresh thinking and knowledge is need it to push that country.  
Dec 13, 2012 5:11PM
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The new emigrants will go back, old emigrants don't. 
If I were the new government of Venezuela, I would create some kind of stimulus to the people to comeback. The reason is simple. Emigrants has learned a lot and new fresh thinking and knowledge is need it to push that country.  
Dec 16, 2012 1:23PM
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im mexican myself and if had the opportunity to go an retire in venezuela i would do it in a heart beat,,even just to live there it be great..theres beautiful women,,,venezuela is a great country some people just dont know how to enjoy their country,,,sceneic views that will take your breath away,,,,

food oh my god (ni se diga) ,,,lets all become mr hugos buddies and go back an enjoy venezuela instead of talkingb trash.

                                             UN BUEN MEXICANO PARA VENEZUELA.

Dec 16, 2012 1:23PM
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im mexican myself and if had the opportunity to go an retire in venezuela i would do it in a heart beat,,even just to live there it be great..theres beautiful women,,,venezuela is a great country some people just dont know how to enjoy their country,,,sceneic views that will take your breath away,,,,

food oh my god (ni se diga) ,,,lets all become mr hugos buddies and go back an enjoy venezuela instead of talkingb trash.

                                             UN BUEN MEXICANO PARA VENEZUELA.

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About the author
  • SimónSimón Gómez

    Political junkie, loud mouth extraordinaire, and a born gear head, Simón found himself in Miami after 11 years of practicing law in Caracas and being a good ole boy. While always attuned to American culture, his heart is firmly rooted in the Latino community. Simón wrote for three years the car pages of Maxim en Español and has been freelancing for MSN Latino since 2011. Simón divides his time between his two dogs, his production work, and his writing.