The Latest on el Thugo Chávez

July 2nd, 2011

By Dan Miller

Hugo ChavezThere was a Spanish language report in the Venezuelan newspaper el Universal [on June 30], summarized at Fausta’s Blog here, highlighting some of the stories flitting around about el Presidente Chávez and his acknowledgment on June 30th that he is recuperating from cancer treatment — which had previously been denounced as a lie. Here, courtesy of Fausta’s Blog, are the most interesting:

— Chavez is staying at Casa Protocolar #9, El Laguito, Havana, which was assigned to him 10 years ago
— His urinary catheter was removed last week but he still has the stomach catheter
— His spirits are very low, which shows on the video

— Upon returning to Caracas, Chavez will be admitted to the Military Hospital. A room with hospital equipment has also been prepared at the home of the Defense Minister, and at Isla Margarita (where the cancelled summit was to take place)
— Fidel Castro has become Hugo Chavez’s spokesman. Castro spoke to Lula and Uruguayan president Pepe Mujica on Monday to cancel the scheduled summit.

As I noted in an article published on June 27th,

There was an article on June 27 (in Spanish) in Periodista Latino … claiming that Chávez has been in a coma for five days due to septicemia and that he is in one of Fidel Castro’s houses under tight security lest there be leaks of information such as might happen were he in the hospital. It is said that European physicians and lots of medical equipment are there to care for him. True? It makes at least as much sense as other claims.

Having appeared briefly to read his speech on June 30th, he is obviously no longer comatose if he in fact was. However, there has been no other explanation why he was removed from the Cuban hospital to one of Fidel Castro’s houses and the Periodista Latino report makes as much sense as any.

It is strongly suggested here that the speech read by Chávez was quite odd. He had in the past been extremely loquacious and extemporized for hours.

A very thin and clearly gravelly ill Hugo Chavez finally addressed the Nation tonight from Havana, Cuba and once again lied and raised questions in a clear change of heart about whether to tell or not the truth about what ailment he has been suffering and how it has been handled. Chavez, the eternal improviser, actually read the speech, saying he had a malignant tumor that was discovered after a second operation, which had not been revealed until today (Except by reporter Nelson Bocaranda, who had said it earlier).

Chavez just tried to patch up the mess created by his absence, correcting the diagnoses over which many members of his Government and himself had lied, but failing to explain the details of what really ails the President. What ails him was diagnosed and present before he went to Cuba and it may be worse than anyone thought, based on the way he looks and his suggestion that there is still malignancy around. He was clearly down, talked about the “abyss” more than once and while he called for unity among his collaborators, there were no revolutionary slogans

Daniel at Venezuela News and Views makes a similar observation here.

First, the delivery. This was a stilted announcement that was read by Chavez, the first time I can remember him reading from a piece of paper. Coming from him who makes fun of people who prefer to read prepared statements, him the great improvisor never at a loss for words, it can mean only one of two things: he is really sick and was propped for that speech made short and sort of direct; or he did not write the speech at all and somehow was coaxed into reading it. For me it is yet more evidence that we are a Cuban colony

The second thing is that the time frame does not coincides with what the regime would have liked us to believe, that it all happened in Havana (and stayed in Havana?). Chavez claims that it was AFTER the first surgery that they finally detected cancerous cells. Significantly after. If we let logic carry the day that means that indeed his “knee” incident was the first surgery and that he went to Havana for the second one. Why can’t Chavez tell the whole truth and get over with it? After all, not even myself would begrudge him his wishes to go to Havana for his second surgery and treatment to feel safer and away from paparazzi and the troubles of the country.

Is this a WTF (Win the Future, of course) moment for Venezuela?

(This article was first published at The PJ Tatler.)

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2 Responses to “The Latest on el Thugo Chávez”

  1. Clarissa |

    As my student from Venezuela recently told me, “Whenever Chavez opens his mouth, lies come out. Whenever he doesn’t open his mouth, lies still come out. He must have learned to emit lies through his nose and ears.”

  2. Tom Carter |

    Clarissa, I think your student has it exactly right. However, the real problem facing Venezuela today, it seems, is what will happen if Chavez dies. As bad as he is, in the aftermath of his death there would likely to be chaos and maybe a lot of bloodshed. I just hope we don’t pick a side and then decide to go in and bomb the other side, along with unfortunates stuck in the middle, a la Libya.

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