Longtime Venezuelan president and self-described socialist revolutionary Hugo Chavez could be headed to the grave soon. He even has publicly named his preferred successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

The 58-year-old Chavez, who has fought cancer several times in the past, has been receiving treatment in Cuba for pelvic cancer and the prognosis does not look great. The cancer is reported to have reached his bones and it is possible death is imminent for the controversial strongman.

As president, Chavez has nationalized many major industries and earned international criticism for taking over much of the media in his country. He is democratically elected, and has maintained a victorious coalition of the poor, the left, military interests and certain parts of the political middle, all while lauding the Cuban Communist revolution and rubbing elbows with many of the United States enemies.

His successor Maduro is on the far left of the political spectrum and it remains to be seen whether he can maintain Chavez’s winning political coalition. Political violence has been common in Venezuela’s history and many fear worsened violence if Chavez dies.

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