Adan Chavez, brother of President Hugo Chavez
Adan Chavez, brother of President Hugo Chavez Reuters

While rumors and speculation mount over the health of Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez, his brother has made some ominous comments regarding the use of arms to retain power in the country.

Hugo is reportedly convalescing in a hospital in Cuba after having undergone some kind of surgery there a few weeks ago. He has not been seen in public since June 10 and has only communicated with the public through a couple of mundane tweets that did not address his illnesses

His brother, Adan Chavez, the governor of the state of Barinas, reportedly told the nation’s military: The revolution was born in the Bicentennial era, and it made it through elections and we want it to continue that way, following a peaceful path that allows us to build Bolivarian socialism, but aware of the dangers that beset us and that the enemy does not rest, we cannot forget as authentic revolutionaries, other methods of struggle.”

Then he quoted the famous Latin American revolutionary icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara, by adding: “It would be inexcusable to limit ourselves to only the electoral and not see other forms of struggle, including the armed struggle.”

The spectre of a military intervention to keep the Socialists in power is not new.

Last year, General-in-chief Henry Rangel Silva, made a threat last year warning that the army would not accept any electoral victory by the opposition.

Complicating matters is that Hugo Chavez, who has been in power for twelve years, has not specified a line of succession.

Under existing laws, should Chavez resign or expire, the Vice President Elías Jaua would become the next legitimate constitutional successor for the president.

However, according to some reports, other figures, including Adan Chavez, may vie for the top job.

Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez’ allies say he is recuperating and will return to Caracas soon – perhaps by July 5, Venezuela’s independence day.

Opposition figures in Venezuela are unconvinced.

“The uncertainty regarding Hugo Chávez’s health and considerable speculation over the real illness affecting him reveal the government’s serious constitutional violations,” said Miguel Angel Rodríguez, an opposition lawmaker, in a statement.
He added that Chávez must “give us the diagnosis, talk to us about the treatment and answer questions.”