[Franklin Marquez – Age –50’s; Birthplace – Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; Residence – Miami, Florida, U.S. CURRENTLY IN VENEZUELA; Lives with Wife and Children; Occupation – Attorney, Writer, Moderator of the Blog]
I spoke with people here in Caracas, Venezuela tonight (May 1, 2012). They said their concern stems from the fact that Chavez was absent during the Summit in Cartagena, did not make a live speech in April, and did not make a live speech on Labor Day. Especially with new laws being implemented today, it is very unusual for him not to have made a Fidel Castro-length oratory. Instead, he returned to Cuba on May 1 for more “treatment”. He did apparently issue statements on May 1, but the Venezuelan people say he would not miss his speaking opportunities if he was not near death. CBS News and others posted apparent statements from Chavez on May 1.
The people are convinced he is dying. Many are concerned that his death will lead to a massive strike and other government crisis. Many have told me I should return to the U.S. today because I may not be able to leave when the crisis arises after his death. There is quite a dichotomy of feeling – relief that he might die, and fear that he might die blend together in a feeling of impending turmoil.
As I was writing this post last night, CNN published a story saying most of what I was writing:
It opens with, “Uncertainty rules in Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez battles a cancer some believe has turned fatal.”
Cubans are also concerned about his possible impending death. Venezuela is Cuba’s current Russia, providing the tiny socialist country with significant cash and petroleum. That contribution is deemed to be all Chavez, who loves to give money to other small, struggling countries, and poor countrymen, in order to win their favor. But, it is believed that the contributions will immediately dry up if he dies.
Even Fidel Castro himself has weighed in on what might happen if Chavez dies. That is very interesting, partly because he seems to give credence to the concern that Chavez will die, and because he is not talking about financial concerns that could arise from Chavez’ death.
See this link to a Cubadebate article published in Granma, the official Cuban Newspaper. Castro talks of social and economic struggles in Latin America, discusses slavery, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King in the U.S. and the strong relationship of Cuba and Venezuela, particularly with Chavez. Then Castro points directly to President Obama with a threat against action that might result from Chavez’ death, saying, “Under such circumstances, any mistake made by Obama could provoke rivers of blood in Venezuela. The Venezuelan blood is also Ecuadorian, Brazilian, Argentinean, Bolivian, Chilean, Uruguayan, Central American, Dominican and Cuban blood.”
Morgen Richmond comments on Castro’s writing in an article on Hot Air, in which he says, “Put me down as highly skeptical, and not just because of the source. With elections scheduled for later this year I suppose some political upheaval in Venezuela is possible, especially if Chavez dies at a critical point leading up to the election. But it seems a pretty safe bet that President Obama is not going to involve the U.S. in overthrowing the remnants of Chavez’s regime, even indirectly. … In any case, I don’t think Castro has much to worry about.”
So Latin America, particularly those of us in Venezuela and Cuba, sit and wonder whether Chavez’ absence and sudden return to Cuba is evidence that everything will first change.