After Absent Chávez Sworn In, Deceased Qaddafi Appointed Minister
Caràcas, Venezuela (AP) – With President Hugo Chávez convalescing from another round of cancer treatment and unable to attend his inauguration, the government of Venezuela went ahead nevertheless and conducted the swearing-in ceremony in his absence. At the same time, a spokesman for Chávez announced that the President, seeing that the technical presence of a government official was unnecessary for him to fulfill his duties, had appointed slain Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi as a minister in his cabinet.
Qaddafi was killed by insurgents as the Libyan opposition overran his last strongholds in October 2011, but he and Chávez saw eye-to-eye on numerous important issues, notably their stiff opposition to perceived American imperialist intentions and a willingness to lend support to anti-Western forces and governments across the globe.
For that reason, said the spokesman, the President felt comfortable tapping Colonel Qaddafi, as he was known, for the post. Chávez had also considered appointing other deceased figures to positions in his government, but since this is the first time such a move has been implemented, the President preferred to see how Qaddafi fares in the role before expanding the policy.
If Chávez in fact takes this measure to its logical conclusion, Venezuela could benefit from the experience and vision of many dead leaders and thinkers, assuming they would consent to filling the positions the government could offer them. It is unlikely, for example, that Napoleon, even with his gifts as a military commander and strategist, would serve under a Venezuelan.
However, experts agree that high on Chávez’s list is none other than Simón Bolívar, the revolutionary who secured independence for large swaths of South American from Spanish rule. If Bolívar could be persuaded to devote more years to Venezuelan advancement, Chávez would cement himself as a trailblazer in government, a reputation he would surely relish.
Qaddafi’s appointment is not the first instance of a dead person assuming a position in government, but by far the most senior, both in terms of the position involved and the prominence of the personality in question. A handful of American, British and Irish representatives have been elected posthumously, usually as a result of their deaths occurring too close to elections to remove them from the ballot. Qaddafi’s case, however, is unique, in that Chávez has specifically chosen him despite – or perhaps because of – the late Libyan’s moribund state.
Chávez’s allies are already praising the move as visionary, and suggest that the President is paving the way to his continued leadership of the republic even if he dies during office. Chávez’s recurring, malignant cancer would then cease to pose such a problem, and Venezuela could continue to stride forward with Chávez at the helm for as long as necessary.
“It’s more revolutionary than most people even realize,” said an excited Miguel Carras, 28, a Chàvez supporter from Caracas. “We call our Lord Jesus Christ our king, but even He had to come back to life a few days after being crucified. Our beloved President has such vision he won’t even need to undergo resurrection to continue demonstrating his leadership.”
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