Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who has yet to confirm his attendance at the Summit of the Americas this coming weekend, faces a slippage of regional influence as he undergoes radiation therapy for cancer.
A recurrence of cancer first detected in 2011 has kept Chavez in Havana for days at a time for the radiation treatment, with brief weekend trips home between rounds.
He was to complete his third round on Wednesday, and so far has not said whether he would attend the two-day summit of regional leaders in Cartagena, Colombia, which begins Saturday.
"The information we have is that he will attend, although he likely will not spend the night in Cartagena," said Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, whose government is hosting the gathering of heads of state and government.
These vultures, so eager to tear Venezuela apart, once its protector is gone...what they don't know or can't admit is that Chavez has taught the people how to resist and overcome the 1%. Venezuela is never going back to the "old ways" of doing business, not in this century.