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Venezuela

Yearbook 2011

Venezuela. According to Countryaah official site, the major topic of discussion in Venezuela during the year was President Hugo Chávez's state of health. The speculation was extensive over an 18-day period of very unusual silence on the part of Chávez, until he declared on June 30 that he had been diagnosed with cancer and that a tumor had been removed. During the remainder of the year he made repeated trips to Cuba for treatment. On the 200th anniversary of Venezuela's declaration of independence, he showed up on the balcony of Presidential Palace Miraflores and gave a half-hour speech, but did not participate in the military parade the following day. Speculation about what will happen to the country without Chávez, who has been president since 1999, was also rampant, especially as the government was equally silent in June and no official surrender of power to Vice President Elías Jaua was made. Assessors pointed to the fact that the political power in Venezuela is extremely concentrated on Chávez as a person. Although Chávez, by the end of the year, assured that he was restored, the presidential election came in October 2012, where Chávez now has the right to stand for re-election, definitely on the agenda in the light of no guarantees that he will live until then.

2011 Venezuela

The development of events in Libya during the year put Venezuela in focus for the world's interest. President Chávez, who called Muammar al-Khadaffi his 'revolutionary brother', blamed NATO and the EU for trying to steal Libya's natural resources, and for a while rumors came to light that Chávez was preparing to offer al-Khadaffi exile in Venezuela. In the same vein, at the end of August, Chávez issued a decree to nationalize the country's gold mining and revoke all gold reserves abroad, citing that the global capitalist system is heading towards its downfall and that gold is an asset over which the state should have full control.

Relations with neighboring Colombia, which were particularly strained during former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe's time (2002–10), improved significantly during the year. In April, a Venezuelan drug offender was arrested in Colombia and deported to his home country, while Venezuela seized and extradited one of the most important members of the Colombian guerrilla FARC, which also operates in Venezuelan territory.

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