Venezuelan President Hugh Chávez, who extended his visit to Cuba on June 8 for surgery there, is still there despite claims that he would return in a “few days.” Since June 8, his cadenas — lengthy, frequent and mandatory broadcasts on all Venezuelan media — have ceased and he made only one brief call to a Venezuelan television station on June 12th, followed by a tweet on June 21st.
On Tuesday, Mr. Chávez made another virtual appearance. In a statement posted on Mr. Izarra’s Twitter account, he lamented the death of another Venezuelan official who had sought medical treatment in Cuba.
“We don’t know very much about [Chávez’s] health, there is no official news, only partial reports,” said Chávez critic Teodoro Petkoff, a former presidential candidate and current editor of the opposition newspaper Tal Cual.
Mr. Chávez raised concerns when he said, during a call to a Venezuelan television station two days after his operation, that there were no “malignant” signs found, a former top Venezuelan health official said.
The former official, who asked not to be named, pointed out that a pelvic abscess—a pus-filled cavity that can result from injury or infection—is a reaction to a condition. “His choice of words was a red flag,” the official said.
The former official also said there was a possibility that Mr. Chávez would be hospitalized when he returned to Venezuela, another potential sign of the severity of his ailment. If it was a matter of simply treating an abscess, Mr. Chávez would likely not need a hospital at that point, the official said.
There has been much speculation about his condition and whether/when he will be physically fit to govern; there has been no more than the normal speculation about his mental fitness.
Should el Presidente not be able to regain the reins of government, his Vice President, Elias Jaua, would probably fill in.
I don’t think there is any chance that he would pass away,” he [Roger Noriega, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former American diplomat in Latin America] said. “What we are hearing from our sources is that they are going forward with plans for the July 9 anniversary of the Venezuelan independence. If Chavez were in any kind of grave, serious trouble, they wouldn’t be doing that.”
Nonetheless, he said, if Chavez were to suddenly become too sickly to govern, the reigns of power would pass to his vice president, Elias Jaua, a charmless but disciplined ideologue closely tied to the Cuban regime.
“He was appointed to the job as Plan B for [Raul] Castro, which is if anything happens to Hugo, he has got this guy more loyal to Havana than to his own country in the vice presidential slot,” Noriega said.
While Mr. Noriega apparently knows a lot about Venezuelan goings on, it seems that the July 9th independence celebration could not now be put on hold lest speculation about the condition of el Presidente be increased.
Getting actual news out of Venezuela is easier than out of North Korea, but not much. However, there have been blogs. Here is an excerpt from Venezuela News and Views.
No significant medical reports have been offered. Strong rumors that his family was already waiting for him in Havana when he arrived from his South American tour have killed any idea of “the medical emergency”, not to mention that conveniently Miraflores Palace had “forgotten” to give a return date for his leave of absence. Drugs and surgery and absence did not stop Chavez from pretending to sign major legislation, something that would not be tolerated in any civilized and democratic country. The chavista spurious majority in parliament bent backward to justify what should never even be suggested in a civilized country.
We know now that we are a Cuban colony, and became one willingly, helping the invaders.
Meanwhile, things continue to go downhill in Venezuela, with massive electrical outages and a prison riot that began on June 12th but has yet to be quelled despite the intervention of four thousand troops.
President Obama has doubtless been as fully briefed as he always is on what’s happening in South America and must therefore be no less on top of the situation than is usual. Perhaps he will send a get well tweet, since he now uses Twitter, signing his messages “BO.” One can only hope that el Presidente does not misinterpret the tweet as having been sent by the First Dog, Bo, AKA FDOTUS.