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Chavez is sick but his merchandise is selling like hot cakes

Published on Jan 9, 2013 6:07 AM

CARACAS (AFP) - Mr Hugo Chavez is so sick with cancer that he won't show up for his own inauguration for a new term this week. But the cottage industry that lives off Chavez merchandising is quite healthy.

You name it, and the bombastic Comandante's face can be found all over it: T-shirts, baseball hats, jackets, earrings and much, much more.

In a small market in central Caracas not far from the National Assembly, Ms Elisa Flores de Moreno says she has traveled from Merida in far western Venezuela - sent by colleagues to stock up on Chavez gear as the country waits to see if he will pull through his fourth round of cancer surgery.

The 58-year-old Mr Chavez, who was first diagnosed in mid-2011, underwent his latest operation on Dec 11 in Havana and has not been seen in public since.

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