Sudden Possibility of a Chávez Exit Underlines Venezuela’s Institutional Weakness

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez flew to Cuba on Monday for his fourth cancer surgery after announcing over the weekend that he had designated his vice president, Nicolas Maduro, as his desired political successor.

The announcement marked the first time Chávez, who has publicly battled the disease for more than a year, has suggested that his health could keep him from continuing in office.

“Venezuela will never be the same again,” Christopher Sabatini, senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas and editor of Americas Quarterly, told Trend Lines. “There is no going back. The Chávez era may be coming to a close, but the historical imprint that Chávez has had on Venezuelan history is certainly not.”

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