Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
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Jul 4, 2011

Chavez homecoming is another turn by master showman

CARACAS (Reuters) – President Hugo Chavez’s surprise return to Venezuela from a rumor-plagued convalescence in Cuba after a cancer operation is the latest theatrical twist of a consummate showman with a career of dramatic comebacks.

Flying in the face of frenzied speculation that his illness might keep him out of Venezuela for weeks and possibly months, the beaming Venezuelan leader disembarked at Maiquetia airport near Caracas on Monday after an overnight flight whisked him from the Cuban clinic where he was being treated.

Jul 4, 2011

Smiling Chavez makes surprise return to Venezuela

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s ever-unpredictable President Hugo Chavez made a surprise homecoming from Cuba on Monday and declared himself “fine” despite speculation his cancer may still require lengthy treatment.

“I’m happy … I’m going to get some rest,” a bubbly-sounding Chavez told state TV by telephone after touching down in the early hours of the morning.

Jul 3, 2011

Chavez foes say his absence a security risk

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s opposition said on Saturday President Hugo Chavez’s prolonged convalescence from cancer in Cuba put the country’s security and sovereignty at risk and it stepped up calls for him to delegate his powers.

“It is clear Chavez does not have the capacity to fully exercise his power … This is a very dangerous, nefarious precedent,” Roberto Enriquez, national president of the COPEI Christian Democrat opposition party, told reporters.

Jul 2, 2011

Chavez recovery questions keep Venezuela on edge

CARACAS (Reuters) – Anxious Venezuelans debated on Saturday how long President Hugo Chavez could take to recover after a cancer operation, despite government assurances the socialist leader will be fit to run for re-election next year.

The opposition has slammed his administration for withholding basic information about the president’s condition while insisting the 56-year-old remains fully in charge. Chavez planned to meet several of his ministers in Cuba on Saturday.

Jul 2, 2011

Uncertainty over Chavez’s recovery roils Venezuela

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela was mired in uncertainty on Saturday over how long President Hugo Chavez would take to recover from a cancer operation, despite assurances by allies he will be fit to run for re-election next year.

The government said Chavez remains fully in charge. He planned to meet with several of his ministers in Cuba for talks on Saturday.

Jul 1, 2011

Whiff of mortality chastens fire ‘n brimstone Chavez

CARACAS (Reuters) – For years, Venezuela’s irrepressible President Hugo Chavez has taunted frustrated opponents with the prospect he will rule into the third decade of this century.

But the aura of self-assured invincibility that is one of his most potent political weapons appeared dented on Thursday when the 56-year-old leader told his people and the world from Cuba about the removal of a cancerous tumor.

Jun 14, 2011

Former top Iraq financier denounces bank power grab

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Last month, top Iraqi banker Hussein Al-Uzri was telling foreign investors in London about why they should put their money in the “new Iraq.”

Just over a week later, the head of the state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq had fled the country, accused by Iraq’s government of committing “multiple violations” costing millions of dollars.

May 13, 2011

Haitian pop star turned leader faces high expectations

PORT-AU-PRINCE/MIAMI (Reuters) – Haiti’s pop star turned president Michel Martelly takes office on Saturday, riding the high but volatile hopes of a poor, calamity-stricken population desperate for a chance of a better life.

Managing these expectations at home and abroad will be the biggest challenge confronting Martelly, a 50-year-old extrovert entertainer without government experience who until now was more used to winning over audiences with songs and antics.

May 6, 2011

Florida rescuers race to save stranded pilot whales

MIAMI (Reuters) – Wildlife experts, coast guards and volunteers in the Florida Keys were racing against time on Friday to save a group of at least 18 pilot whales which became stranded in shallow waters.

After working through the night, the rescue operation involving more than 100 people and a flotilla of small boats had managed to transfer seven of the beached whales, including one calf, to a protective sea pen for examination by vets.

Apr 22, 2011

UK’s Richard Branson gets flak for lemur relocation plan

MIAMI (Reuters) – British billionaire businessman and adventurer Sir Richard Branson has plans to fly commercial passengers into space, but his terrestrial scheme to relocate endangered Madagascar lemurs on a Caribbean island he owns is getting flak from some conservation experts,

The Virgin Group founder, who has combined a meteoric business career with round the world balloon flights and philanthropic initiatives, has announced he will resettle lemurs collected from zoos on 120-acre (48-hectare) Moskito Island, part of the British Virgin Islands archipelago.

    • About Pascal

      "I am based in Miami, heading the editorial reporting team covering the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. This includes Cuba and Haiti and we are also in charge of covering the annual Atlantic hurricane season and Space missions from Cape Canaveral. Previously, I was Chief Correspondent for West and Central Africa, and chief correspondent, Venezuela, following earlier postings in Cuba, Brazil, southern Africa, Portugal and Spain."
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