CARACAS, Venezuela — With Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez incommunicado and reportedly convalescing in Cuba, his brother told an audience that both arms and the ballot box could be used for Venezuela’s ruling party to retain power.
“As authentic revolutionaries, we cannot forget other forms of fighting,’’ Adán Chávez said at a prayer meeting in Barinas, Venezuela, that was devoted to the health of his 56-year-old brother, who grew up there.
Quoting Latin American revolutionary icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara, he added: “It would be inexcusable to limit ourselves to only the electoral and not see other forms of struggle, including the armed struggle.”
Adán Chávez , a mild-mannered former university physics professor who has a close relationship with the president while maintaining a low profile, did not explain why it might be necessary for the president’s backers to consider the possibility of guerrilla warfare in the future, and the statement seemed to clash with Hugo Chávez’s own assertions.
The comments came during a day of intense speculation that the leader may be gravely ill after reportedly undergoing emergency surgery 16 days ago.
Fernando Soto Rojas, president of the National Assembly, said rumors that Chávez has been diagnosed with cancer are false. He added that he expected the president to return home before July 5, Venezuela’s independence day.
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