Update on the position in Venezuela

As it is widely known now, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died yesterday March, 5, 2013 at 16:30 hrs LT afternoon, after a two year battle with cancer. Vice-President Nicolas Maduro made the official announcement on a national radio and TV network. Several governmental spokesmen including the President of the National Assembly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense have addressed speeches to the country, and according to them, the government has deployed armed forces to streets and other main places to guarantee peace and security. Supporters of the President have gathered in the main Bolivar squares of the country to show their appreciation and sorrow.

A Presidential transition has already begun in Venezuela but as has been also reported worldwide there has been heated debate in recent months over clashing interpretations of the Constitution, and it is actually impossible to predict how the transition will proceed.

In the capital city Caracas the President Hugo Chavez’s coffin is being driven through the city centre on the top of a car and driven slowly to the military academy where his body will lie in state for three days before a massive state funeral on Friday, which several friendly heads of state are expected to attend. Although seven days of mourning were declared and all school was suspended for the week, governmental offices have closed to attend the funerals, but all other commercial and productive activities have not been officially closed and are working normally. As said above the country is now focused on this huge funeral ceremony; The national guard, army and police forces are now deployed in the streets make them quite calm even more than normal.

It is important to point out that banking and public transport are normally working. The ports, terminals and other maritime related facilities are also working normally, including customs offices for which cargoes are being nationalized without delays.

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