Chavez: I'm not sure if I will attend the Summit of the Americas
President Hugo Chávez said he is not sure if he will attend the Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. He explained that he has to rest because of his medical condition. "I am not to decide about that, but my medical team will. We have to assess this issue in the coming hours (...) I must be disciplined. I must rest"
At 4:40 pm on Friday, with the National Anthem, and accompanied by one of his daughters and some of his ministers, President Hugo Chávez appeared on the people's balcony to deliver a speech to his followers, who gathered around the presidential palace of Miraflores, downtown Caracas, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his return to power after the coup of April 11, 2002.
"Long live Venezuela! Long live the heroic people of (Simón) Bolívar! Long live the great fatherland! Long live the revolution of April! Long live the martyrs of April 11! What a beautiful day today and yesterday. I have been watching the television shows and living together with you the commemoration of these historic events," were his first words to the crowd.
While his followers shouted "Go, commander, go!" the Venezuelan Head of State promised that his speech commemorating April 13, 2002, would not be "very long." He stressed that he is recovering satisfactorily from his third cycle of radiation therapy against cancer. "I am doing very well. I am better."
"You know I'm still recovering from an operation and treatment, and I want to keep you informed as always: I'm still recovering from surgery and I am receiving a third cycle of radiation therapy. This treatment has some impact on the body; it is radiation. We are doing well and we will be well, God willing," he said.
"This year has been difficult. Thank God, I was able to be here on July 5, 2011 (to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Venezuela's independence), even though I had just undergone the first operation. Then I was able to be with you and celebrate the 20th anniversary of February 4th (1992, when he headed a failed coup d'etat), and then I underwent surgery for the second time. Thank God the recovery has been positive and here I am. I am good, on my feet, with you on this April 13; the 10th anniversary of this wonderful journey," he added.
The Venezuelan president said he is not sure if he will attend the Summit of the Americas taking place in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, explaining that he has to rest because of his medical condition. "I am not to decide about that, but my medical team will. We have to assess this issue in the coming hours (...) I must be disciplined. I must rest."
"Raise your hand if you want me not to go to Cartagena," Chávez asked his followers. "I will take what you say into account," he said, but stressed that his doctors would have the last word.
He thanked the leaders participating in the Summit of the Americas for the solidarity they have shown with him and Venezuela. He said that he has not met with President of Uruguay José Mujica, who arrived in Venezuela on Friday afternoon.
Chávez supported the decision of President of Ecuador Rafael Correa not to attend the Summit of the Americas. He added that no more similar summits should be held if the Cartagena meeting fails to address the issues of Cuba's exclusion and the Falkland Islands. "We should put an end to these summits (of the Americas) and focus on our thing: the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Clacs)."
"All countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are in favor of Cuba's inclusion. Only two governments oppose it fiercely: the governments of Canada and the United States," he said.
Let us start by looking at what appears to be a discrepancy in figures. According to official statistics, the number of Venezuelans contracting HIV/AIDS every year amounts to 11,699; and as per Ministry of Health figures 43,805 people receive free antiretroviral medications. But Jhonatan Rodríguez, the president of ONG StopVIH, claims that these figures date back to March 2012, and that they are quoted as current figures.