Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday canceled this week’s trip to Venezuela after the government of that country announced President Hugo Chavez is too ill to attend his own inauguration.
A source within Colombia’s presidential palace told local media on Wednesday that Santos had canceled his scheduled visit to Venezuela after details of Chavez’s health situation emerged.
President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, confirmed that President Chavez is unable to attend the inauguration due to illness, and will therefore invoke Article 231 of the Venezuelan constitution which permits the president to be sworn in by the supreme court at a later date.
Chavez is still recovering in Cuba’s capital of Havana where he recently underwent his fourth operation in 18 months to remove cancerous cells. The National Assembly has, in response to the situation, authorized Chavez to take “all the time he needs”.
President Hugo Chavez has been in power since 1999, and was reelected by popular vote in October of 2012 for another six year term, which will conclude in 2019. However, his ongoing battle with illness continues to raise questions on the stability of his government.