Santos: Problematic transition in Venezuela could be bad for the region
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos claimed to have no news about the health status of his Venezuelan counterpart
"If there is an easy transition in Venezuela, as it were, and a transition with no disturbance whatsoever, unable to create any problems at all inside Venezuela, then all of us (in the region) would be alike; there would be no repercussion on the region," he reasoned.
"It would be terrible though if the transition were not smooth, sort of problematic; that would create troubles in the region," the Colombian leader underscored.
Queried into the medical status of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, after a surgery last week in Cuba as part of his cancer treatment, Santos replied, "The truth is that I lack accurate information."
"I understand that he is complicated... He would not have bid farewell in this way had he not been facing troubles, but I do not know for certain about his health status nowadays, neither does anybody."
The Colombian leader added that he has kept in touch with Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro, but gave no further details.
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.