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While there are conflicting reports on the severity of the condition of Hugo Chavez following his latest cancer surgery, it seems increasingly possible that his days in office are numbered. With the possibility that he will either not live long enough or be healthy enough to take the oath of office next week, discussions are underway to determine the best course if the ailing leader is unable to recover from his latest health setback by January 10. Will the letter of the Constitution be adhered to, or will some special circumstance be invoked in an effort to maintain the ailing president’s hold on power? And what will happen if Chavez, Venezuela’s President since 1999, is unable to fulfill his duties? Cindy Arnson, Director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program has been monitoring the situation and provides context on what to expect in the coming days and weeks.

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Cindy Arnson

Cynthia J. Arnson

Director, Latin American Program
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Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more