Venezuela top brass affirms loyalty to Chavez

Feb 25, 2012, 7:21 PM

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuela’s military high command reaffirmed its loyalty to President Hugo Chavez on Saturday in a public show of support a day after Chavez’s departure for Cuba to undergo surgery removing a possibly cancerous tumor.

Military leaders said they were praying for Chavez’s health and were confident of a full recovery.

“With you, everything; without you, nothing,” Navy Adm. Anibal Brito said during a ceremony in the port of La Guaira to inaugurate a naval training vessel named after independence leader Simon Bolivar.

Military officers have used the phrase in the past to signal allegiance to Chavez, who is scheduled to have his third operation since last June, when a baseball-size tumor was removed from his pelvic region.

The leftist president was given a clean bill of health last fall and had declared himself cancer-free, but last week Cuban doctors found a new, smaller growth in the same part of his body. Chavez has said the growth is probably malignant but hasn’t revealed what kind of cancer he has.

During 13 years in power, Chavez has sought to shore up support in the military from the rank-and-file up to the high command, mindful of the country’s history of coups d’etats.

Chavez himself led a failed coup in 1992 that catapulted him into the public consciousness and paved the way for his election in 1998. He survived an unsuccessful putsch against his own presidency in 2002.

In recent days, he has accused his political rivals of intending to spread rumors of discontent and division within the military during his absence from the country, and trying to stir intrigue about his health in an election year in which he is seeking a fourth term.

On Saturday, the presence of the military high command and Vice President Elias Jaua at the ceremony sent a message of unity.

“Today our commander in chief is here with us,” Defense Minister and Gen. Henry Silva told cadets scheduled to sail on the Simon Bolivar. “His spirit as a revolutionary soldier is here.”

Chavez, 57, flew to staunch ally Cuba on Friday after traveling by motorcade through the capital of Caracas.

Photos released by the Venezuelan government and brief video aired on state television showed the socialist leader being greeted at the Havana airport by Cuban President Raul Castro.

Chavez said he planned to meet with Cuban doctors for medical tests on Saturday. The surgery is expected to take place early next week.

“I have faith that everything will go well,” Chavez told Venezuelan state television by telephone late Friday.

He said he brought with him a box of books to help pass the time, including the Spanish-language version of “TNT: The Power Within You,” a self-help book by Claude Bristol and Harold Sherman. The book’s subtitle reads: “How to release the forces inside you & get what you want!”

“It’s a book about the power of will,” Chavez said. “It helped me a lot.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
10 days ago
In this Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Pres...
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
14 days ago
Royal guards stand by the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, as members of the public pay thei...
Associated Press

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral | Live updates

WINDSOR, England — Queen Elizabeth II has been interred together with her late husband, Prince Philip, at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, officials said. The royal family’s official website said the Dean of Windsor conducted a private burial ceremony late Monday at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, an annex inside St. George’s, a […]
17 days ago
Britain's King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort leave after a Service of Prayer and Refle...
Associated Press

Live updates: Queen’s funeral police effort is biggest ever

LONDON — London police say Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday will be the largest single policing event the force has ever handled. Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said Friday that the massive police operation surpasses even the 2012 Olympics, which were held in the British capital, and the celebrations earlier this year […]
20 days ago
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident ...
Associated Press

WHO: COVID end ‘in sight,’ deaths at lowest since March 2020

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday that the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide last week was the lowest reported in the pandemic since March 2020, marking what could be a turning point in the years-long global outbreak. At a press briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said […]
22 days ago
Kenya's new president William Ruto signs the book of condolence for Queen Elizabeth II at the resid...
Associated Press

Live updates: Public views queen’s coffin in ancient hall

LONDON — Members of the public who waited outside for many hours are filing through Westminster Hall to pay their respects at the queen’s coffin, which is lying in state there. People are filing past each side of the coffin, most pausing for a brief moment to bow their heads. Some wiped their eyes while […]
22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Venezuela top brass affirms loyalty to Chavez