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The PJ Tatler

by
Dan Miller

Bio

July 15, 2011 - 7:20 pm

It had been announced earlier that el Presidente Chávez of Venezuela would soon leave for cancer treatment in Brazil and that

According to the state-run news agency, which did not disclose its sources, Hugo Chávez’s representatives negotiated directly with advisors of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff the details of the treatment.

AFP tried to confirm the information with the office of the Brazilian president, but it declined to comment on the report. However, Rousseff’s office did not deny the information.

Rousseff was successfully treated for cancer in the Syrian-Lebanese hospital in Sao Paulo, before being elected president.

Now it appears that he will leave on July 16th for Cuba instead.

Speaking from the steps of the presidential palace, Chavez read a brief letter requesting that Congress authorize him to leave for Cuba on Saturday to continue treatment including chemotherapy. He did not say how long he would be gone.

“The second phase will start in the coming days with the application of chemotherapy that has been scientifically planned down to the last detail, and I am sure the second phase will contribute to the recovery of health,” he said.

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Here is a video of Chávez’ announcement.

There is an analysis at The Devil’s Excrement and it is well worth reading. It observes, among other things, that

This afternoon, President Hugo Chavez announced that he will be going to Cuba to receive chemotherapy for the cancer that affects him. This is a surprising decision that reportedly goes against the wishes of his daughters. It was our understanding that the doctors from the Syrian Lebanese Hospital in Brazil were not clear on what precise treatment to follow, while the Cuban had already made a decision when he left that island.

It is unclear what tipped the decision. From a technical point of view Chavez would be better off in Brazil, Venezuela or a country like Canada, the quality and size of cancer treatments in these three countries is considered to be much more advanced than that of Cuba, even if in Cuba, he could be taken care off by doctors of other nationalities. It is likely that in the end ideology tipped the decision Cuba’s way. I am sure that Fidel Castro and Chavez’ brother Adan put a lot of pressure on the Cuban choice. An isolated Chavez in Havana is much more under control than one in Sao Paulo in a private hospital. Those that have the most to lose, will now control the day to day life of the Venezuelan President and, indirectly, over the country.

Chavez gave hints of the severity of his illness when he said he underwent two “complex” operations in Havana, which contradicts his earlier stories of a single well defined tumor the size of a baseball earlier this week. He also said he had given “ample” details about these operations, which contradicts reality. We still have no idea what type of cancer the Venezuelan President has.

Whatever the reasons may be for the decision to go to Cuba, everyone doubtless wishes him a speedy whatever and prompt return to Venezuela to for which he has done so much. The speculation, which I noted here, will obviously continue.

Dan Miller graduated from Yale University in 1963 and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1966. He retired from the practice of law in Washington, D.C., in 1996 and has lived in a rural area in Panama since 2002.
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