Venezuelan army vows "full loyalty" to President Chavez
Defense Minister to Chávez: "We must reiterate that we are loyal to you, the revolution and the people"
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Venezuelan Defense Minister Diego Mollero Bellavia voiced solidarity with President Hugo Chavez in a press release.
"We are positive that you will go out victorious from this fight, impregnated with your people's love, who deem you, rather than president, as a brother, a friend, a father, and the indisputable leader of the socialist and Bolivarian revolution," reads the text cited by state-run news agency AVN.
"This is just another battle that you will win," the minister said.
In the communique, Mollero Bellavia stressed the army "full loyalty" to the people and the government led by President Chavez.
Reference was made to the support and defense of social liberties by the army "to lead our people to a stage of the greatest possible happiness and social equity."
"We must reiterate that we are loyal to you, the revolution and the people. Rest assured, in your absence, the soldiers of the Army, Navy, Aviation, National Guard and Bolivarian Militias will ensure with our lives the socialist homeland," the high-ranking officer concluded.
The news marked an ominous beginning, health-wise, of the year 2015: the Cardiovascular Surgery Unit at Hospital Clínico Universitario, one of the country's largest teaching hospitals, was to close completely on January 5 due to lack of medicines and surgical supplies. All patients who were waiting to be operated on were sent home. More than 10 patients waiting for surgery reportedly died there from lack of basic medical supplies in the two months prior to the closure.