“He is a complete revolutionary, a man of great experience despite his youth, with great dedication and capacity for work,” Chavez said. “In a scenario where they were obliged to hold a new presidential election, you should choose Nicolas Maduro.”
Maduro’s trade union background appeals to Chavez’s working-class supporters, while his previous role as foreign minister provided opportunities for networking abroad.
He may win less support from the military wing of the Socialist Party, which controls many top government posts.
Venezuela’s widely traded bonds are likely to soar when markets open today on expectations that Chavez’s renewed illness will pave the way for a more market-friendly government. Its bonds have been among the most profitable of any emerging market paper this year, largely due to Chavez’s weak health.
His possible departure could mark the end of an era of socialist governments in Latin America and anti-US sentiment that Chavez helped set in motion more than a decade ago, and leave global leftists without one of their most acerbic voices.
The opposition could find itself in its best position to oust his administration since Chavez took power in 1999. Many voters have ignored the failings of Chavez’s government because of their intense emotional connection to him.