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While the prison crisis descends into chaos in Venezuela and the country starts buying electricity from Colombia, Hugo Chavez is still in Cuba, following last week's surgery for a mysterious "pelvic abscess" of so far undisclosed etiology.

From there he raised the countryâ??s debt ceiling by 83 percent.

According to Noticias 24, Fidel and Raul Castro stopped by Chavez's hospital room, where he remains "recovering ... in needed rest."


As you can see, Chavez needed to prop himself up on Fidel and Raul, which is saying something. All the same, Chavez continues to rule Venezuela from afar.

Venezuelan News and Views looks at Chavez-as-Viceroy:

I do not know about you but never have I felt as much a Cuban colony as I am feeling this week, and it is only Tuesday. Not only now our orders come directly from Cuba where Chavez prefers receive treatment that he could perfectly receive at home, and probably of a much better quality, but his latest decisions reek of old style colonialism.

First, that he prefers to receive treatment in Cuba. The pictures of him arriving there were of a very smiling, very upright Chavez, not someone in pain that would receive within hours "emergency" medical treatment. I, for one, could not are less about what ails Chavez, nor would I begrudge that he receives medical treatment for emergency wherever in the world he is. However, I, for one, do not buy for a second the emergency status. For me, it looks like those African presidents that fly to Europe even for dental treatment. To Paris, preferably.

Second, the 1999 constitution, written mostly by Chavez, has very specific provisions to deal with temporary absences of the president. 


Third, he appoints his baby brother as the new tsar of electricity. What merits Argenis Chavez may have are not the point. The point is that in time of crisis, outside of the country, in a sector where huge investments are required urgently if he wants to be reelected in 2102, Chavez can only trust a sibling which has already been amply tainted with accusations of corruption. Just as ancient Spanish Viceroys traveled to the Americas with family and friends to occupy the key posts in their new charges.

Everybody is speculating as to Chavez's malady, particularly since Chavez, who for years has done his interminable TV and radio shows several times per week (averaging 43 minutes per day since he took power in 1999), has limited himself to a single telephone call into state-run television for the last ten days.

Cross-posted at Fausta's blog.