Ailing Chavez should put oil market on alert

The oil market faces new instability as the Jan. 10 inauguration approaches of newly reelected but apparently ailing President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. According to a Dec. 30 announcement by the government, the brashly anti-American populist encountered complications during his fourth cancer operation in Havana. Chavez’s illness became public knowledge in June 2011 with disclosure of surgery in Cuba for what then was described as a “pelvic abscess.” After a second operation, Chavez returned to Caracas in July and disclosed his diagnosis of some type of cancer. As the year progressed, his public activities increased, and by January 2012 he was feisty enough to welcome to Venezuela Iranian...

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