Venezuelan socialist strong man Hugo Chavez is reported to have had cancer surgery in Cuba (how freakin’ bad is it when you have to go to Cuba for treatment).
The usually vivacious Chavez, 56, confirmed in a stern speech on Thursday he had surgery in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor and was receiving more treatment. He said he needed time to recover before returning to Venezuela to run his self-styled revolution.
A fiery critic of the United States, Chavez will miss events marking Venezuela’s 200th anniversary of independence from Spain. He had to cancel a regional summit planned for the momentous July 5 date.
Markets have generally reacted positively to news of Chavez’s health problems, on the presumption they improve the chances of a more business-friendly government.
The last sentence says it all. If ever there’s been a person to ruin the economic health of a country, it is Hugo Chavez. He’s now vulnerable. And as the article says, there’s a power vacuum forming and in most cases that’s not a good thing – in this case, it could be a good thing:
"Political vacuums are rarely to be encouraged, but this one could lead to a slowdown in public spending and could raise the likelihood of an opposition victory in the next elections, and thus a less confrontational governing style," said Richard Segal, an emerging markets analyst at Jefferies in London.
An interesting situation. And the longer he remains in Cuba, the shakier his position in Venezuela becomes. Nothing would do the world and Venezuela more good than to see another revolution which ousts him from power and returns the country to a real democracy and market based economy.