Venezuelan adviser: "Chávez's health is only known by the Cuban regime"
In the words of Diego Arria, ex candidate in the Venezuelan opposition primaries and an advisor of the Inter American Dialogue, "any candidate from the existing administration, be it (Executive Vice-President Nicolás) Maduro or (Congress Speaker Diosdado) Cabello or anyone else, would essentially be a stand-in for (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chávez, dead or alive."
Arria thinks that this was what prevailed in the gubernatorial elections. "The official candidates did not win Chávez won for them."
According to the expert, the Cuban regime has a high profile in domestic affairs. "It is difficult to know the impact of Chávez's health on the electoral process, but it has been played extremely well by the regime with its Cuban advisors."
Arria feels that the Cuban sphere of influence spans the Venezuelan economy. "Chávez's health is only known by the Cuban regime and its doctors. I believe that it is possible that Chávez himself does not even know his own situation well. Chávez's largesse with the Venezuelan treasury is fundamental for the Cuban economy."
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.