Venezuela lashes out at Obama over Chavez comments


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguilar Patriota's official visit at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on Nov. 1, 2012.


Leo Ramirez

The Venezuelan government today issued a scathing response to US President Barack Obama's critical remarks about ailing President Hugo Chavez's authoritarian policies, according to Reuters.  

"With these despicable comments at such a delicate moment for Venezuela, the US president is responsible for a major deterioration in bilateral relations, proving the continuity of his policy of aggression and disrespect towards our country," Reuters cited the Venezuelan government's statement as saying. 

And what did Obama say, exactly? The US leader wouldn't comment on the health issue, but told Miami's WLTV Univision 23 on Thursday: "The most important thing is to remember that the future of Venezuela should be in the hands of the Venezuelan people."

"We've seen from Chavez in the past authoritarian policies, suppression of dissent," the Associated Press cited the president as saying. 

This is a sensitive time for the Venezuelan state. The country's longtime leader, President Hugo Chavez, underwent what officials described as "complex" and "difficult" cancer surgery in Cuba on Tuesday.

The exact diagnosis and length of his expected recovery was not entirely clear, and it has been suggested that he won't be well enough in time for the Jan. 10 inauguration ceremony that would further extend his presidential rule. 

Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Thursday that Chavez was bleeding after the six-hour operation — his fourth in 18 months — and will need "corrective measures," according to Reuters.

"This process of recovery will take time," Villegas told the nation.  

Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s chosen successor, on Wednesday said the surgery was "delicate" and the president faced an uphill recovery.

More from GlobalPost: Nicolas Maduro named as Chavez's successor as the Venezuelan leader faces cancer surgery

He also warned that if Chavez wasn't well enough by then, “our people should be prepared to understand it,” the Associated Press reported. 

More from GlobalPost: Has the myth of Chavez been broken? 

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