Hugo Chavez's health has been declining recently. He admitted to having cancer. After seeking treatment in Cuba, he made a "triumphant return" to Venezuela. He then said that he had Stage II cancer and would require more treatment in Cuba. Chavez returned to Cuba over the weekend to begin his second round of cancer treatment in less than a month. He told reporters that a tumor the size of a baseball was removed from his abdomen during his first round of treatment.
Government officials spoke out Monday in support of their ailing president saying he will run for President again in the 2012 elections, BBC News reports. "I think there is no doubt the president will be present at the 2012 elections and then for many years," Finance Minister Jorge Giordani told state TV reporters. Chavez delegated some of his presidential responsibilities for the first time before traveling to Cuba for his new treatment. Finance Minister Jorge Giordani and Vice President Elias Jaua were entrusted with carrying out the will of the president while he receives treatment in Cuba.
The Guardian examined the potential lineage in Venezuela should anything happen to Chavez over the next year, and also examined the declining state of the governing party.
Many have interpreted Chávez's refusal to name just one successor, and his vehement calls for unity, as a clear sign that the fissures within chavismo run deeper than chavistas themselves want to admit. For the political analyst John Magdaleno, the official announcement of Chávez's cancer brought to light the many factions within chavismo.