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President Hugo Chavez says he is free of cancer, but doubts linger. Photo by government of Venezuela.
Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles hopes to defeat Chavez in October. Photo from http://hayuncamino.com/
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Special Reports

Venezuela Outlook: The Chavez Factor

A closer look at the different scenarios facing Venezuela.

BY JOACHIM BAMRUD

Venezuela is facing an uncertain future, independent of who wins the October presidential elections, experts say.

Much of it is tied to President Hugo Chavez´ cancer, which he announced in July last year. Although he now claims to be "totally free" of cancer, doubts linger as to how well he is and what impact his illness will have if he is re-elected. "He will simply not be able to sustain the kind of insanely active schedule of his first 11 years or so," says Peter Hakim, president emeritus and senior fellow of the Inter-American Dialogue. 

However, a less active, accessible, visible Chavez means that others will be more insistently jockeying for position and power, he points out.

Jerry Haar, a professor at Florida International University, agrees. "I expect he will ...

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