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.
Chavez apparently will not leave Vice-President Jaua in charge when he leaves tomorrow. This and the fact that he is going to Cuba bodes badly for the possibility that there will be a smooth transition with or without Chavez. The Cubans will control what is said, who says it and when it is said. Their favorite and trusted successor Adan is with them. This could hide the truth in the same way it has been hidden for weeks and leaves the country unattended and without a President or under the hands and control of a foreign State that has the most to lose if Chavez were to be defeated in 2012 or is too ill to continue being the President of Venezuela.
In the end, Chavez’s fate may be sealed by the same factors that have made his Presidency so impractical and ineffective. He may have taken a decision to be treated in Cuba, based on ideology and emotions, rather than on the facts and on the capability and preparation of those that will treat him.
In the end, we may never learn the truth…