(CARACAS, Venezuela) — As rumors continue to fly about the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, most of his countrymen still believe the socialist leader will eventually return to power.
The government is not revealing the condition of Chavez following his fourth cancer-related surgery in 19 months. Some believe the 58-year-old president is incapacitated or might already be dead.
Chavez recently returned to Venezuela after two months in Cuba and is being cared for in a military hospital. Meanwhile, polling company Datanalisis found that close to six in ten Venezuelans believe Chavez will overcome his disease, while 27 percent say that he won’t. Almost 3 percent contend Chavez is dead.
There might be good reason to think that Venezuela exists in a power vacuum because Chavez hasn’t been seen in public since last December and the tweets sent on his account could have been written by his aides.
If Chavez does die, the country will have to hold general elections within 30 days. Currently, Vice President Nicolas Maduro heads the government in Chavez’s absence.
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Mohammed Tawfeeq, Joe Sterling and Susanna Capelouto, CNN
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN