Chávez’ Medical Condition

November 8th, 2011

By Dan Miller

Hugo Chavez, Aug 22, 2011 (AP)Somebody is lying. Take your pick as to who.

According to Roger F. Noriega, United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States from 2001-03 and Assistant Secretary of State from 2003-05,

The international medical team treating Venezuela’s cancer-ridden leader Hugo Chávez believe that, absent a radical change in his condition, he is not likely to survive more than six months. According to sources that have provided me privileged information and documents from within the Venezuelan regime for many months, recent tests show that Chávez’s cancer is accelerating and his chances of surviving until the October 2012 presidential elections are worsening. …

Chávez wants his people to believe that he was “cured” months ago and that recent visits to Cuba have been to confirm his miraculous recovery. In fact, his physical deterioration is advancing faster than doctors had expected.

Despite this grave situation, Chávez has insisted on receiving only light doses of chemotherapy to avoid long absences from the political stage during this precarious period. Under his desperate plan, Chávez’s team will announce “short vacations” and “rest breaks,” during which he really will be receiving treatment at a specialized medical facility that has been installed recently at the presidential retreat on the island of La Orchila.

These latest revelations are consistent with months of reporting from inside sources. What began as an aggressive prostate cancer more than a year ago had spread to his lymphatic system, colon and bones even before Chávez agreed to seek treatment.

His body’s reaction to the first two rounds of chemo was so debilitating that he only received the third round during his most recent visit to Cuba. (On the two prior occasions when he was to undergo treatment, his medical team decided that his red cell count was too low and his condition so weak that chemotherapy would do more harm than good.)

Doctors believe that Chávez’s fateful decision to demand weaker doses of chemo so he can try to continue his public duties to be suicidal, but they have no choice but to go along with this desperate scheme. To make matters worse, the very painful radiological treatment of cancerous cells in his bones has yet to begin.

Radiation therapy for bone cancer, particularly in bones located in or near the pelvic region, can be dangerous due to the side effects on nearby spinal nerves.

[R]adiation therapy is typically the second treatment choice for this type of cancer, with surgery being the first. This is due mostly to the fact that radiation therapy for bone cancer is usually not as effective, since it doesn’t kill cancer cells of this type very well.

The information provided by Ambassador Noriega seems to be more credible than some recently in the news and to have come from people likely to be aware of Chávez’ condition. There is no apparent reason for Ambassador Noriega or Fox News to make it up.  Here is what he would like to see happen:

There are some crucial issues where only leadership from Washington will suffice. For example, Venezuelan narco-generals must be isolated so they cannot thwart a peaceful transition, and those military officers loyal to the constitution must be bolstered. Havana, Beijing, Moscow, and Teheran must be put on notice to step aside as Venezuelans reclaim their future. And, U.S. planners must be prepared to deal with the short-term impact of unrest in a country where we import about 10 percent of our oil.

Washington also must develop a long-term plan to help Venezuelans clean up the toxic waste of terrorists, narcotraffickers, corruption, and Cuban agents that Chávez will leave behind.

Fat chance of that.

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

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