Chavez makes first TV appearance after surgery
CUBA: Hugo Chavez appeared on Cuban state television Tuesday, with
revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, for the first time since the Venezuelan
president underwent emergency surgery in Cuba.
The 56-year-old appeared to have lost weight, but was animated in
speech as usual as he stood alongside Castro, 84, the footage showed.
The video also aired in Venezuela to dispel rumors about Chavez’s
The footage showed Chavez and Castro speaking in a garden as well as
seated in a room; in one, the political allies are shown reading
Tuesday’s edition of the Communist Party newspaper Granma, presumably to
dispel repeated allegations that Chavez could be ailing or dead, and
images of him less than fresh.
“This morning, a brotherly meeting was held between comrade Fidel and
the Venezuelan president... at which they chatted” about their
recollections of past meetings, a statement read out on state television
The Venezuelan government has not addressed details of Chavez’s
condition. And opposition lawmakers are up in arms in Caracas as many
think it is unconstitutional for the president to be governing from
But Caracas has rejected reports that Chavez was in critical
condition following surgery in Cuba, and insisted that the firebrand
leftist leader was recovering well.
“A picture says more than 1,000 words,” Venezuelan Information
Minister Andres Izarra said in Caracas after seeing the video of Chavez,
adding that he had personally spoken with his boss. “We can see him
there, very dynamic. We can see that he is recovering.”
He said Chavez had a right to take the time he needed to recover
before returning to Venezuela.
Chavez “has not abandoned his constitutional responsibilities; indeed
he just called a cabinet meeting to orient us all,” added Venezuelan
Vice President Elias Jaua, noting there had been no temporary transfer
of presidential power.