Friday, July 1, 2011

Hugo Chavez's Cancer Could Foster Venezuelan Power Struggle


Military and civilian allies of Venezuela's convalescent President Hugo Chavez insisted on Friday he was still running the OPEC oil-producing nation despite his prolonged absence in Cuba for the removal of a cancerous tumor.


One source close to the Venezuelan medical team that is following Chavez's recovery said the diagnosis had revealed a cancer that required aggressive treatment that could take several months. A wing of the Caracas Military Hospital was being prepared to receive him when he returns, the source said.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita in The Logic of Political Survival (h/t EconTalk) has this to say about the the health problems of autocrats like Chavez (p. 312):

Leaders, however, cannot promise to continue the flow of private goods to their supporters beyond their own death. Once it is known that a leader is terminally ill, supporters are aware that their access to private goods is about to dry up. This breaks the loyalty norm and ends the incumbency advantage. This means that political deposition is likely to precede anticipated death or infirmity...

Here's hoping for a speedy transfer of power!

1 comment:

iwishirish said...

Light Speed.
He will have the same conversation with the creator that Che' had.
Short and descending.