Two prominent former judges have posited that Hugo Chavez has already handed the reins of power to his designated successor, Nicolas Maduro. El Universal reports from Caracas:
The Venezuelan Parliament once again rejected using the term “temporary absence” to refer to the absence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who returned to Cuba to undergo cancer treatment. However, both the way the leader informed about his trip to Cuba and the fact that he appointed Vice-President Nicolás Maduro as his political successor clearly imply he has handed over all his powers.
“This time is different from what has happened before. The president considered a scenario in which he may end up being physically or mentally unable to be in office. Thus, this time there are more reasons to believe that the Presidency is vacant and, therefore, Vice-President Maduro must fill that position,” former justice of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) José Peña Solís stated.
Similarly, a former magistrate and former president of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Román Duque Corredor, underscored, “The president said he would request permission to be absent for a few days. Automatically, a temporary substitution applies, accordingly. However, he admitted that his health conditions may prevent him from holding office. Therefore, he has admitted that he is physically unable to continue performing his duties.”
Not surprising, really, when you remember that, according to the respected NGO, Transparency International, Venezuela is the most corrupt country in Latin America.