Venezuela to probe Chavez
Venezuela to probe Chavez cancer poisoning accusation
(Reuters) - Venezuela will set up a formal inquiry into claims that the late President Hugo Chavez's cancer was the result of poisoning by his enemies abroad, the government said.
Foes of the government view the accusation as a typical Chavez-style conspiracy theory intended to feed fears of "imperialist" threats to Venezuela's socialist system and distract people from daily problems.
Still, acting President Nicolas Maduro vowed to open an investigation into the claims, first raised by Chavez himself after he was diagnosed with the disease in 2011.
"We will seek the truth," Maduro told regional TV network Telesur. "We have the intuition that our commander Chavez was poisoned by dark forces that wanted him out of the way."
Foreign scientists will be invited to join a state committee to probe the accusation, he said.
Maduro, 50, is Chavez's handpicked successor and is running as the government's candidate in a snap presidential election on April 14 that was triggered by the president's death last week.
He is trying to keep voters' attention firmly focused on Chavez to benefit from the outpouring of grief among his millions of supporters. The opposition is centering its campaign on portraying Maduro, a former bus driver, as an incompetent who, they say, is exploiting Chavez's demise.