By Mica Rosenberg and Diego Ore, Reuters
CARACAS – Cranes tower over new apartment blocks in Venezuela’s capital where President Hugo Chavez’s government plans to house 20,000 poor families as part of a populist pre-election spending push.
Though finished, the buildings stand empty – waiting for the usual fanfare inauguration of such projects by Chavez himself.
The socialist leader is in Cuba convalescing after a third cancer surgery, so the question is when – or even if – Chavez will be strong enough to cut the ribbon.
The charismatic Chavez has been in campaign mode for most of his 13-year rule, and his signature style of personally meeting the beneficiaries of his welfare programs has helped him win re-election and extend his powers in the South American nation.
Now facing potentially debilitating radiation treatment or after a second malignant tumor was removed from his pelvis, the once-inexhaustible Chavez, 57, is being forced to slow down just as he goes into what could be his toughest election yet.
To read more, visit: Â http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/11/us-venezuela-election-chavez-idUSBRE82A07720120311
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