The Doctor Speaks Out on Hugo Chavez’ Health and His Intentions

October 21, 2011

Last week there was a lot of fuzz over an interview with Dr. Salvador Navarrete in a Mexican magazine in which the Doctor said that Chavez’ life expectancy was limited and gave lots of details about Chavez’ past health, when supposedly he had been part pf the medical team taking care of the Venezuelan President. Most of the analysis focused on the veracity of the interview and whether the doctor was or not unethical in revealing information about his former patient. There were also reports that the Doctor had been taken to the intelligence service SEBIN for an interview.

Well, today Dr. Navarrete has published an open letter in Tal Cual, in which says he has left the country. In his letter, Dr. Navarrete says among other things:

“I was thinking about the ethical dilemma which represents to watch over the health of the most important person in our country, at a time that he has been diagnosed with a malignant illness and the lack of foresight in the face of a possible absence, whether temporal or definitive, in the handling of the Nation due to a lack of a clear medical communique about his current condition”

“I am concerned that the President and his political surroundings do not know the magnitude of his illness due to the complete secretiveness with which it has been handled. The consequences of a fatal ending and the importance both to his organization as well as the groups that back him, as well as the political groups that oppose him, were the reason that made me tackle such a delicate subject”

“The analysis of the current condition of the President is based on official information that in some cases has been issued by the President himself and is nothing more that a clinical exercise that can be completed by any medical professional to reach a diagnosis and a presumed prognosis, which is never definitive”

Clearly Dr. Navarrete did not have access to the President on this subject, but claims to be making an educated medical guess on the President’s health based on the information he has. He clearly believes that this is not being handled correctly by Chavez and his entourage, believing that if the President’s condition worsened it could create an undesirable situation in the country and within his political movement.

This whole thing and his interrogation lead us once again to the question of the secrecy that has been maintained on this issue. What is the need for this secrecy? Is the matter of the Doctor speaking out , a matter for the intelligence services? Why did he feel he had to leave the country, despite being an important member of PSUV and a founder of Chavez MVR movement?

Nothing new in all this, just another bizarre episode in the already abnormal every day life in revolutionary Venezuela.

71 Responses to “The Doctor Speaks Out on Hugo Chavez’ Health and His Intentions”

  1. Francisco Toro Says:

    I’m sorry but I learned all I needed to know about Dr. Navarrete’s credibility the moment I heard him make a sweeping statement about Chávez’s life expectancy even though he’s never seen a biopsy report.

    • moctavio Says:

      well, I think SEBIN’s interest in him is to determine who he talked to within the inner circle. When I first heard of Chavez’ illness in May, I had a source who knew each step what was going on. Then, in mid-June, this person was totally shut-off from the process. Why the secrecy?

    • chiguire Says:

      Quico is spot on here. The Doctor’s statements are nothing more than hearsay i.e. pura paja, and should be given no more credibility than Hugo’s self serving declarations that he is free from sickness (much less cancer).

      • PM Says:

        I agree that revealing details about Chavez’s health was unethical. And using the fact that those parts were not supposed to be included in the article is preposterous.

        But it’s also unethical of the government not to release a medical brief, given the fact that the President is the Nation’s most important employee.

        His comments, however, can’t be dismissed as hearsay just like that. They are at worse an educated guess made by a doctor. Speculation about Chavez’s cancer has been going on for several months now (The Miami Herald has interviewed many oncologists). And as far as a formal brief is made available to the public, Venezuelans have every right to inform themselves about the prospect of their President’s disease

  2. John Barnard Says:

    But Chavez says he is cured!!!

  3. island canuck Says:

    I still firmly believe that he is very ill.
    He says he has had 4 chemo treatments which means he hasn’t had one for awhile yet continues to look bloated & sickly.

    The rumours that have been floating around including Dr. Navarette’s can’t all be wrong.

    If you are going to believe someone then Chavez would be at the end of the line.

    They are not yet ready for the transition. The wait is to see if he can live long enough to win the election or live long enough to have it postponed until they (Cubans) can groom another leader which at the moment doesn’t exist.

    • Carolina Says:

      All this episode is looking to me like when in a theater play something goes wrong behind scenes and the whole crew start running like chickens without their heads while the main actor hasn’t even noticed (or doesn’t care) about what’s wrong.

      For him, the show must go on.

    • Syd Says:

      By declaring that Hugo Chávez is not cured, and by installing a novice transitional government (Jaua or Maduro), great uncertainty would result. Projects-in-the-pipeline would stall, Vz financial stability would be impacted, chavista voter preference would teeter, which in turn, would give way to doomsday results for the Cubans.

      That’s just a guess as to why Chavez, under Cuban orders, is stringing us along. And the guess is based on the premise that Chávez has incurable cancer and does not have long to live.

  4. captainccs Says:

    Throwing former friends and allies under the bus seems to be the political maneuver du jour. Curious that this is being done in the despised Empire yet copied to the letter by our Supreme and Immortal Leader.

    Of course Chavez is free of cancer, immortals don’t get cancer.

    The purpose of the secrecy is to throw the opposition into chaos but it likely throws his base into chaos as well. Probably the only ones with a clear vision at this time are his Cuban Masters.

  5. megaescualidus Says:

    HC’s system is a typical autocracy (an euphemism for dictatorship) with no succession. Without HC there’s no Revolucion. There was never a succession plan, none devised by HC himself (after all he’d “reign” until 2021, right?), none from within the inner circle (Diosdado?, Maduro?…), or none with the seal of approval of Fidel and/or Raul. Hence the secrecy.

    As to why “suddendly” the doctor (Navarrete) decided to come out after he’d been part of the inner circle (a while ago, not so anymore, or so it seems) is to me a big question.

    In any case, two things are valuable in all this. After all the rumors about HC’s health, the existence of one opinion (though not issued after on-hand results of biopsy tests) persuaded me more to believe that HC (as Miguel has said many times) is really sick (though, I should admit, there’s always a little voice in here saying “really?”, or “show me the body…”). Secondly, Navarrete did put a term to HC’s illness: 2 years (+/- who knows how much). Regardless of Navarrete’s motives no one else has had the balls to say these two things publicly loud and clear.

  6. concerned Says:

    I believe that the man was sick, but that it was not cancer. Also that it was something too embarrassing, or not manly enough to openly admit. The 4 chemos were a lie, and that this doctor is a chavista plant to keep the pot stirred or in some way validate through rumours that the whole cancer ploy was real.

    He got what he wanted which was to be treated, sympathy support for the “cancer victim” as most wouldn’t wish that on their worst enemy, distraction from the everyday problems, and to tempt the opposition into showing their hand. Worked like a charm……..

    • Syd Says:

      Also that it was something too embarrassing, or not manly enough to openly admit.

      That was my initial thought, when I first heard he had cancer but wouldn’t reveal what type. Little wonder, then, that Chigüire Bipolar came out with this parody: http://tinyurl.com/3sjjesx .

      btw, I think it is cancer and nothing but.

  7. LD Says:

    It is hard to know who is telling something true… but if Chavez was inspected ” milimeter to milimeter” and “organ to organ” then it is because they fear a metastasis. If it was a tumor the size of a baseball obviously a not so remote possibility. Also a reason for the chemo. Depending on the kind of cancer are the chances. Now it is a sit and wait time, if a metastasis arise, then it is almost certain game over. No method can exclude a cancerous cell from remaining undetected, so if chemo didn’t destroy all of them, it could develop a metastasis. At the moment there are only no metastasis detected.
    Not telling the kind of cancer makes a better assesment impossible and this must be the logic of the secrecy, a militar one, you never reveal anything that your enemy can use (yeah, the enemy, it’s war after all…)
    I think they would play the “healed” card, and if the cancer comes again, then HCh will be a heroe, only a cancer “traicionero” truncated his life…

    • LD Says:

      only to point to the letality of a metastasis: now he has had chemo, if a cell survived, this would be a resistent one, the same chemo would do nothing. Maybe an alternate, but depending on the cancer it could be no other or resistant too.

  8. bruni Says:

    Miguel, you should have translated the whole letter, which is very touching. The doctor says that the journalist lured him with false pretense and that he asked to remove some of the things that were written but that was not done.

    After reading the doctor’s letter, I have a better understanding of what happened. IMHO the doctor deserves his letter to be read integrally.

    To those who say that Ch is or is not free of cancer…I say the following: he may be in remission now, after the treatments. If that is so, the question is what is the probability of it coming back.

    • Syd Says:

      Bruni, this is a silly request, but may I ask, did the hair of your eyebrows disappear during your chemo treatments? And, how far apart was each treatment? (I think you mentioned something like you had 12 sessions.) And were you given steroids during the chemo?

      I know that every case and every type of cancer is different. I’m just not familiar with the disease, so I have very few reference points. Just trying to ounderstand what may be a moot point in the case of Chávez. Thanks in advance.

      • Cristina Says:

        Syd,
        Hair loss varies with chemos. Some chemos cause ALL body hair to fall off in three weeks time, whereas others cause partial hair loss. Chemos are usually combined so full hair loss will occur only in cycles where certain chemos are given.
        It’s impossible to determine how bad a tumor is based on hair loss, unless the hair loss is prolonged; that is for sure a sign of the treatment being long.

    • Cristina Says:

      Bruni, even when the letter seems honest this doctor hasn’t had access to a pathology report. He should make clear that he’s guessing.

  9. Jose Says:

    Don’t know if Gadaffi had cancer, but It didn’t matter in the end. However, in the case of Chavez, I think his life should be spared if found hiding in the museum’s kitchen. For the sake of the museum.

  10. captainccs Says:

    I’m not a medical doctor but it struck me as strange that the report included details about Chavez’s personal hygiene with details about how careful he is with his odor and his finger nails. Is that relevant to cancer?

    Obviously Chavez didn’t follow in the footsteps of his revolutionary hero Ché who was known by the nickname “piggy” for his bad smell from not taking a shower during prolonged periods of time. The OWS crowd seems to be following Ché more closely!

    Can a doctor on this thread enlighten me on the inclusion of the hygiene thing in Dr. Navarrete’s report?

    • Syd Says:

      no doctor here, but I think, based on Navarrete’s comments on Chavez’ bipolar disorder, as diagnosed by a certain psychiatrist at one time, Nav wanted to tie his observations over what could be perceived as obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD falls under the umbrella of bipolar disorder.

      • Ira Says:

        OCD is a condition which falls as a symptom under many, many psychiatric maladies–and is a malady all unto itself.

        Its existence doesn’t indicate the presence of other maladies.

        However, knowing Chavez, we KNOW he suffers from other psychiatric problems. But suffering from OCD isn’t necessarily an indication of which ones.

        • Syd Says:

          You are probably right, Ira. My thoughts on the matter are simplistic, based on a chart noted on a 1999 website of the American Psychiatric Association. The chart listed an array of conditions under the bipolar disorder umbrella. OCD was merely one of them.

          There have been a few changes to the DSM since I first began reading about bipolar disorder.

          Here’s an update: http://www.brainphysics.com/ocd_depression.php

  11. JMA Says:

    One thing is clear: Navarrete did violate doctor-patient confidentiality, which does not have a “statute of limitations.” Ever! Why hasn’t he taken to court on this? Why is there no pronouncement from the medical associations? Why hasn’t any chavista denounced him? To me, this guy has zero credibility. After some thinking, I have come to believe that what is out there about Chavez’ condition is exactly what the Cubans wanted out. It is very easy for them to maintain total secrecy about his condition from the beginning and spread false rumors, so I cannot imagine why someone on the outside could claim to know details about his illness. That is why this “doctor” has no credibility. In fact, he may be part of that disinformation effort, so that all that we are witnessing is pure theatrics, Mexican vacation included. It is all a smokescreen.

    The man is sick, but we do not know what of, period. It could be a malignancy or a severe non-malignant disease. Nobody knows. Yes, he looks ill and bloated, but that is all we can say. You would be surprised to know how many diseases can horribly disfigure a patient, without being malignant. The list is long.

    By not informing the public about the nature of his disease, as any responsible democratic leader would do, it is clear that he is using it for political advantage. And since as part of his psychopathic personality he is a compulsive liar, I would expect any and all kinds of lies about his condition. Therefore, we cannot take at face value whatever this thug says about his disease, because he lies all the time.

    I think it is much better to believe that he will be around for the election, so that the opposition would do best to plan its actions based on that premise. I think that is all they can do. And if the thug dies before that, well, two things can happen: either there would still be an election with another candidate, or there would be a coup and the beginning of an outright dictatorship.

    • captainccs Says:

      JMA, didn’t we see a similar charade a few years ago when a “disgruntled” big wheel turned on Chavez but later returned to the fold? I wish I could remember the name. Was it Ali? Or was that a candidate in some election or other?

      To my earlier question regarding talking about the president’s personal hygiene, would that not be only to give more credence to his bona fides regarding how “close” he was to Chavez to make the charade more credible?

      • JMA Says:

        1. The chicken: Francisco Arias Cardenas.

        2. At worst, I think it reflects more on some feature unbecoming of a man. At best, a very ridiculous statement.

    • Cristina Says:

      Agree 100%

    • Carolina Says:

      Once again, JMA is the voice of reason regarding HC’s health.

      I think I said it before: since the last frenzy rumor when it was said that he was in the intensive care unit, kidney failure, etc, and two days later he shows up playing ball and making fun of everybody, I just don’t believe in anything that is said.

      Has anybody noticed how the MUD has been very careful not to comment anything about it other than to demand an official report? Same thing all the oppo candidates?

      They have been focusing in the country real problems, not on his health issues.

      I’m doing the same.

      • moctavio Says:

        Oh, I think it’s great that the MUD ignores him, I just think something is up no matter how normal he wants to act. I first was told he was sick in May, before anything had appeared anywhere, the source dried up, but was on the spot in June.

  12. Kepler Says:

    Again, JMA, a physician, says what other physicians I know think.

    We need to focus on what Chavismo does not want us to focus on.

  13. Dr. Faustus Says:

    Again, I enjoyed reading JMA’s analysis.

  14. concerned Says:

    I’ll say it again…The doctor is a chavista/cuban plant. He is spreading exactly the information he was told to spread to lay credibility to the whole cancer spoof. No doctor would divulge that kind of information about a patient. Not even Michael Jackson’s doctor. :)

  15. moctavio Says:

    Yes, that is why a practicing doctor, whose wife is also a practicing doctor, pulls his kids and leaves the country…

    • Cristina Says:

      I do believe you have it right Miguel. The whole cancer issue is being kept secret because of the poor prognosis, and this fulano doctor Navarrete seems to have spoken in good faith.
      Chavez’s time is limited most probably. How long? Nobody knows.

      • moctavio Says:

        That’s right, even if you have the details, exams and analysis, as you very well know, things can go many ways. I have seen both, a long survival after a bad prognosis and a sudden demise after a positive one (My father was given three months, lived four years). That’s why if I were Hugo, I would have gone to Canada or Brasil, not Cuba, that alone could be the difference.

  16. JMA Says:

    Time and actions will tell …

  17. Will Says:

    Damn, I was really looking forward to the old mojon dying before I had to come to Caracas with my wife in the spring to settle her affairs. The chavista will eat their own and lay the groundwork for a renewed Venezuela without all of the Bolivarian hype.

  18. Ira Says:

    I still can’t believe that there are people here who think this guy isn’t seriously ill.
    And who claim that this is a made-up scheme to win some kind of “sympathy” vote.

    He’s a dead man walking:

    DIctators don’t reveal their physical mortality (it goes against their rhetoric), and they sure don’t make up stuff that paints them as anything less than in Hitler-esque, Aryan, perfect health. Hell, it was the same with Reagan in the U.S., he hid everything, so you expect Chavez to be honest about this? While going to CUBA for his treatment?

    Couple of weeks from now, we’ll be hearing news about a “minor setback,” and he’ll be back in Cuba.

    Because, as I said, he’s a dead man walking.

    • Syd Says:

      You got my vote, Ira. Can you imagine Reagan or someone in his administration revealing that he had Alzheimer’s, as glasnost, perestroika, and reunions with Gorby began to unfreeze the decades-long Cold War?

      In a much less disciplined environment as is Ch.’s revolutionary project, the same priority holds true for its leader: never reveal your weakness.

      Time will tell. MUD’s playing it well. We could all take a lesson.

  19. CharlesC Says:

    While I was busy today,I was thinking and rather pessimistic again muttering to myself “Why don’t Venezuelans wake up-and run away from Chavez?”
    (The image of Chavez yesterday saying those rediculous -at a holy shrine- things and people
    chanting “onward Commander’. Just sickening, again)
    Sorry-but I disagree- Chavez may be around longer and the tricks and
    deceptions will continue. Chavez -will continue to “steal the show”
    and insult everyone’s intelligence, worse, wait for this–
    wait until next week- Russians arriving -maybe some big absurd idea
    about a base -for example…
    Opposition- must hammer away on the issues, debt-for example ,no jobs,,etc.

  20. CharlesC Says:

    Past few months Chavez has been consulting, bargaining, and
    promising the Spirits-all kinds of Spirits.
    el pueblo- are fascinated by this(- bloggers here are not)
    it is “primitive magic”
    Bloggers here- how do you like your “President” now?
    I think he’s an absolute nut-insane.
    Just a moment- I received a messsage from Spirit delos Llanos-
    “Where the rain meets the mountain, a small hut contains a child
    that will one day be the leader of a new Venezuela-*(the old Vz
    will be destroyed by Chavez..) Now, we know the future.

  21. captainccs Says:

    >>>something too embarrassing, or not manly enough to openly admit.
    >>>baseball sized tumor
    >>>castro…

    Did the castrate him? ¡Que bolas tenía!

  22. anon Says:

    Salvador (and his brother Manuel) are losers and miserable doctors as well. They are also rabid anti-Chavez (at least behind closed doors). Regardless of PSUV membership or not, they hate Chavez. But since they are also liars who knows.

    I can say definitively that any statement he makes is to be taken with a high degree of skepticism.

  23. ErneX Says:

    “Diagnosis”

  24. CharlesC Says:

    Another liar arises. Dr. Ramirez is following orders.

  25. Syd Says:

    So, see-no-evil, say-no-evil, and hear-no-evil announce to the public what they deserved to hear, months ago, in order to gain a comfort level over what was happening, health-wise, to their president.

    Never mind the possible lies of this trio who provide damage control and justification over the outsting of Salvador Navarrete. Never mind that the Cubans have the primary doctor-patient relationship with Chávez. We’ll set those issues aside for now.

    Rafael Vargas, the oldest of the three doctors from the Hospital Militar, seated to the right of Fidel Ramírez (our left), in the video, confirms that in 2002, he organized a medical team, which included Navarrete, to attend to the needs of Chávez. The team functioned, he said.

    But then, he contradicts himself by saying that only in one or two opportunities, was Navarrete in contact with the President, in an informal manner; it was NEVER a doctor-patient relationship. It was information, only.

    Is that what Vargas calls a functioning team?

    The President, who has a truly advanced photographic memory, says Rafael Vargas, doesn’t remember Navarrete’s face. Navarrete was never part of a medical team of confidence.

    That’s why, Vargas goes on to say, these irresponsible comments from Navarrete are surprising. They violate the code of medical ethics, including the intimacy of the life and health of the president, or whatever patient. (Did Vargas say ‘reta penal’ after this point? Not sure. He slurred a few words and at one point tripped just before enunciating Navarrete’s name.)

    Vargas concludes with this: “We are here to inform the Vzlan public and the Venezuelan Medical Society that what Navarrete did lacks total veracity.”

    ………….

    One question come to mind.

    If Navarrete had no doctor-patient relationship with Chávez, according to these doctors, by how much can Navarrete be blamed for breach of patient confidentiality, when he chose to speak about Chávez’ cancer and psychiatric profiles?

    Seems to me, there’s a whole lot more going on behind the scenes.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Yes Great Leader has perfect memory, you know he could have played professional baseball, too.
      (Seriously, I have asked this before “Can CHavez swim”? Also, he is
      supposed to be a “paratrooper” -did he actually jump out of a plane?
      I wish he would do that now- ha)
      [How could Chavez not remember "the Doctor that wanted to probe him"-
      or maybe everyone Chavez gets close to wants to do that so noone in
      particular "stands out" -ha. Please excuse the bad jokes...]
      Syd, you should have been a lawyer.
      Also- the chavista doctors are a little behind schedule–a few days late. They are
      playing the score mostly hashed out by bloggers here for example-..days later.
      Finally, noone- not Navarette, not the three (un)wise doctors- not many people -not the press- seems to care that about the psychiatric case of Chavez.
      Personally, that is the main reason I lose sleep at night-is worrying about
      what this nut will do next- and how in the world will Venezuela ever straighten out
      the disasters Chavez has created -on a daily basis…

    • JMA Says:

      Nice observations. It’s funny how chavistas are always outsmarted at every turn. Relying solely on what Navarrete said, he did breach patient-doctor confidentiality because he stated that Chavez was his patient. That is regarding the psychiatric diagnosis. On the sarcoma matter, he claimed to have first hand information from family members. That is also an ethical violation, though is somewhat harder to prosecute. Even if he has never been in contact with Chavez, he is incurring in a serious ethical violation because he is invading the sacrosanct right of the patient of absolute privacy regarding his/her health matters. He does not have the right to do so under any circumstances, period.

      By outing publicly the health information of a patient without express authorization, any doctor incurs in a serious ethical violation. This is a very big No-No. If three doctors ride in an elevator with other people, and two of them discuss the particular details of a patient’s history, the two involved in the discussion incur in a serious violation because that patient’s information would be overheard by people not authorized to have that information. The third doctor not involved in the discussion would also be incurring in a serious ethical violation if: a) discusses that patient’s health info with someone else, and b) does not denounce the two physicians having the discussion.

      I guess this can only happen in a country with very feeble institutions, like Venezuela. In civilized countries, the penalties for this behavior are very harsh, and there are never mitigating circumstances. This behavior is a serious ethical violation because the consequences of not enforcing a patient’s right to privacy can be extremely damaging to him or her. This was recognized some millennia ago by … I think it was some Greek …

      • Syd Says:

        Thank you, JMA. Nicely explained.

        So I take it that Navarrete breached medical ethics any which way you slice it, by spreading patient information, whether or not:

        (a) there was a direct patient-doctor relationship between Nav and Chav;
        (b) that information was true;
        (c) that information had earlier been in public domain (Chirinos et al).

        I also take it that Navarrete, through his training and allegiance to that Greek man’s oath, must have known what the official (and medical) consequences would be of his actions. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out, in the next 24 months, if not before, and whether Navarrete will be considered saint or sinner in the popular realm.

        What is troubling is that the Venezuelan Medical Society has remained mum on this issue that is of vital comfort to the nation. After all, if a doctor starts talking about a President’s ‘medical profile, in public and without authorization, what’s to stop other doctors from also violating their oath to the Greek man?

        Interestingly, while aiming to destroy Navarrete’s credibility, Rafael Vargas denies Nav’s involvement with the President by saying, “NUNCA mantuvo una relación médico-paciente” (ojo on the “mantuvo” – a word open to interpretation). In fact, the other two doctors, besides Navarrete (all three chosen for their competency by Vargas), didn’t maintain their short-lived doctor-patient relation with Chávez either, after the *coup* of April 2002. But I digress.

        As for Chávez’ inability to recall Navarrete’s face, I’d say that’s some *advanced photographic memory* the President has of a doctor, who formed his only Venezuelan medical team, prior to the *coup* of April 2002, and who may have been the one to suggest and explain to Chavez the procedure involved in the two endoscopies. I sure wouldn’t forget the face that told me about the travels of a little camera in me.

        I’d have to conclude that Navarrete’s motive was partly vengeful, insofar as ex-chavismo is concerned, but also partly naïve, if not a little mythomaniacal. For Navarrete may have believed that the journalist was, indeed, writing a biography of Latin American leaders. Perhaps Navarrete figured that the writing and publishing task would have taken enough time for a medical resolution of the cancer (Ch’s death), Navarrete’s professional retirement (after all, he is in his twilight years), and Navarrete’s place in history for being the Paul Revere (yeah, I know, wrong analogy).

        Insofar as Navarret’s retirement, would that not lessen the impact of the medical sanctions against him, for violating the Hippocratic oath?

  26. captainccs Says:

    Herman Cain is willing to release his medical records. He is a cured cancer patient and aspires to the same kind of job Chavez has. Frankly, I’m tired of the soap opera. I just hope powdered milk and coffee outlast Chavez. Powdered milk and coffee are important for my daily routine. Chavez is not.

    But I must admit that Chavez’s masters, the Castro bros, are doing a great job of seeding FUD into the Venezuelan electoral process. Who the f*ck cares about Navarrete? I sure don’t, just another faceless, repentant, vengeful Chavista.

    As for Venezuelan medical ethics, don’t hold your breath. When my father was diagnosed with cancer I wanted a doctor who was my friend to give a second opinion. I told him there would be a conference (junta médica) to discuss my dad’s case and would he please join in. He said to me: “If you want my honest opinion I’ll have to examine your dad in private. If I go to the conference, I’ll have to agree with whoever speaks first.” My friend, the doctor, has kept me alive for over 25 years. I trust him. And being a trusted friend outside medicine, he was able to tell me the truth about his profession. Maybe it’s a hypocritical oath that our doctors work under.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Ahh, Captain, got a hangover again.
      And, top of the morning to you, sir!

      • CharlesC Says:

        As I said to my doctor- “Maybe, that’s why they
        call it “practicing medicine”??

      • captainccs Says:

        CharlesC, everyone of the doctors involved in my dad’s case was an honorable physician. There is nothing I can hold against any one of them but… Entre bomberos no nos pisamos las magueras. Entre bueyes no nos tiramos cornadas.

        And to repeat, I would not miss Chavez in my daily routine but I sure would miss a good cafecito. Think about it, which is more important?

        • CharlesC Says:

          A famous surgeon went on a safari in Africa. When he came back, his colleagues asked him how it had been. ‘Oh, it was very disappointing,’ he said. ‘I didn’t kill a thing. I’d have been better off staying here in the hospital.’

  27. JMA Says:

    Fresh from the bakery. Simply put: extraordinary.

    Franzel Delgado Sénior “El chavismo opera como una secta destructiva”

    El psiquiatra señala que no se le puede pedir al jefe del Estado que piense como un demócrata porque “tiene una estructura dictatorial en la cabeza”. Dice que la consigna debería rezar: “Chávez los tiene enfermos” y no “Chávez los tiene locos”. Hace mucho frío en el consultorio de Franzel Delgado Sénior. Para que la entrevista no parezca una excursión a la Antártida, el médico agarra el auricular y pide algo de tomar. Acto seguido llega Rosita con una bandeja.



    La saluda cariñosamente y, al despedirla, le regala unos caramelos. Antes de iniciar la conversación, ya había encendido una velita ornamental, que apagará justo cuando el diálogo haya finalizado. El ex presidente de la Sociedad Venezolana de Psiquiatría es un hombre de ritos. Nada pomposo: le gusta, simplemente, que su hábitat resulte agradable. Y eso incluye la música: el aparato de sonido siempre está encendido en su consultorio. Las piezas del Barroco son sus predilectas.



    El psiquiatra es hijo de Kotepa Delgado, cofundador del Partido Comunista de Venezuela y preso político de Juan Vicente Gómez, y de Ana Sénior, pionera en la lucha por los derechos de la mujer. De vez en cuando, Delgado Sénior toma el control remoto y baja el volumen para que las notas musicales no ahoguen sus palabras.

    

Usted, como psiquiatra, ¿qué percepción tiene de la Venezuela de hoy?

    Los venezolanos depositaron en Chávez su confianza para profundizar la democracia y él usó el poder que le dieron para instaurar una dictadura. Chávez estafó a la nación. El país, por donde uno voltee a verlo, parece un carro escachapado. No hay lado sano.

 El Presidente sigue siendo un flautista de Hamelín: hechiza a las masas.

    ¿Cómo explica, entonces, ese fenómeno?

    Hay tres claves. Una es el dinero, que, científicamente, se considera un reforzador universal. ¿Y qué es un reforzador? Es todo lo que, recibiéndose como consecuencia de una conducta, tiende a hacer que ella se repita. Un ejemplo: pidámosle a un grupo de niños hacer una fila perfecta cada día y regalémosle sólo a los que cumplan la orden una barra de chocolate. Al poco tiempo, veremos conformarse una fila perfecta: todos esperan recibir el chocolate. El dinero es el más poderoso reforzador universal, más que el sexo. Por eso el mantenimiento del apoyo al régimen y al líder se han basado, exitosamente, en la repartición de dinero. No es una locura: es una manipulación de la conducta muy intencionada y cuidadosamente concebida.

    

¿Cuáles son las otras claves?

    La segunda clave es la esperanza. Eso es lo que explica que se mantenga lo que se ha llamado la relación religiosa entre Chávez y sus seguidores.

 Si hiciéramos una pirámide, en la cúspide estaría la gente más instruida y de mayor potencial económico y en la parte más ancha la gente menos formada y de menores posibilidades económicas. En los últimos años, la pirámide se viene vaciando de arriba hacia abajo y lo que queda es un fondo. Este gobierno no tiene intelectuales, no tiene profesionales. Le queda lo ancho de la pirámide.

 Allí es donde juega la esperanza. Allí es donde la estafa surte efecto. ¿Por qué una persona que tiene 30 años jugando lotería y no ha ganado nunca, sigue jugando? El reforzador de la lotería es ganar dinero. No ha ganado nunca. ¿Por qué juega? Porque dice: ‘¡Yo sé de uno que sí ganó!’. El Gobierno usa este recurso cuando aparece por televisión una persona a la que le dieron una casa.



    Pero ¿qué características tiene el presidente Chávez para que su capacidad de infundir esperanza sea tan perdurable?

    Chávez es un hombre con una personalidad sociopática, y las personalidades de este tipo tienen una capacidad de manipular, de engañar y de estafar muy grande. Nosotros no estamos ante un presidente normal. Se cree un predestinado. Hay un tercer elemento que puede explicar el poder que ha mantenido el Gobierno y es que el chavismo opera como una secta destructiva. En 1978, en Guyana, más de 900 personas se suicidaron siguiendo a Jim Jones, el líder de una secta religiosa. Ese evento condujo a los representantes de distintas disciplinas a estudiar el fenómeno. Antes, las sectas sólo tenían una connotación religiosa, hoy no. Pueden ser de mujeres, separatistas, políticas o de cualquier orden, siempre y cuando cumplan con los criterios universales que han establecido los académicos. ¿Qué es una secta destructiva? Leo: “Un grupo organizado que emerge en el seno de una sociedad con las intenciones de destruir las instituciones y valores y obligarles a asumir los de la secta”.



    ¿Cuáles son las características de una secta destructiva?

    Primero: tienen una estructura piramidal. Segundo: guardan una sumisión incondicional a un líder, a quien se le debe obediencia absoluta pues se considera predestinado a cumplir una misión que sólo él puede lograr y crea, al crecer la secta, una estructura dictatorial. Tercero: hay anulación de la crítica interna y prohibición del pensamiento individual.

 Cuarto: hay persecución de objetivos económicos enmascarados bajo una ideología destinada sólo a reforzar el poder del líder. En nuestro caso, la secta no tiene que producir dinero porque le entra por las peculiaridades del país. Quinto: la manipulación de los adeptos para lograr los fines que persigue la secta. Sexto: ausencia de control de una autoridad superior sobre la secta. Fíjese que no hay nadie que controle a Chávez.



    ¿Qué otros elementos?

    Séptimo: en las sectas destructivas se fabrican palabras, frases y consignas para descalificar a quienes no pertenecen a ella, que son considerados inferiores. Octavo: hay uso de un color y vestimenta particular para identificarse y darse fortaleza de grupo. Noveno: hay prohibición de abandonar la organización, y quien lo hace es severamente penado (el caso de Francisco Usón). Entonces, quien pueda rebatir que el chavismo no se corresponde con estos nueve criterios, bienvenido sea. Nosotros estamos mucho más allá de un fenómeno de un gobierno que hay que derrotar. No hemos tomado conciencia verdaderamente de lo que estamos enfrentando.



    ¿El jefe de una secta entrega el poder si pierde las elecciones?

    La estructura de personalidad de Hugo Chávez está configurada para no entregar el poder al perderlo por elecciones populares, y así lo ha sugerido él; ahora, cosa distinta es que no tenga que entregarlo. Eso lo determinarán la historia y la participación de todos los sectores de la nación. Parece obvio esperar que, de llegar a complicarse su estado de salud, no funcione la lástima, sino más bien la percepción colectiva de que ya no está en condiciones de ejercer el poder, y la población que aún lo haya seguido para entonces buscará otra opción. Y no es que magnifiquemos la enfermedad de Hugo Chávez, sino que, obviamente, los hechos históricos del futuro próximo de Venezuela están enormemente vinculados al curso real de su enfermedad, no al que él anuncie. A Chávez, que tiene una estructura dictatorial en la cabeza contraria a la de la democracia, no se le puede pedir que piense como un demócrata. Porque si pensara como un demócrata sencillamente ya no estaría en el poder. Pero una cosa es lo que una estructura mental dictatorial aspire y otra cosa es lo que un país le permita.

    

¿Cómo cree que ha manejado el Presidente su enfermedad?

    Iván Pávlov, premio Nobel de Medicina en 1904, demostró, entre otras cosas, cómo las emociones afectaban a las estructuras físicas del intestino humano. Hoy es una verdad científica que las emociones negativas (ira, odio, irritabilidad, resentimiento, envidia) terminan provocando desestabilización inmunológica y enfermedades: desde una virosis hasta un cáncer. Galeno, el famoso médico de la antigüedad, fue el primero que consideró la influencia de la personalidad en el cáncer. Si alguien puede ser un buen testigo de los terribles reflejos que han tenido en la salud estos doce años somos los médicos. La consigna de “Chávez los tiene locos” realmente es: “Chávez los tiene enfermos”. Y es verdad, una dolorosa verdad: un presidente de un país que ha enfermado a sus habitantes. Desde los malestares cotidianos y los desproporcionados homicidios son consecuencia de esta desventura nacional. Y esa desventura tiene un líder.

    

El Presidente ha manejado apropiadamente su enfermedad?

    Psíquicamente el mejor bálsamo para ayudar a aliviar cualquier enfermedad es buscar la quietud, la paz y la armonía interior. Encontrar una generosa relación con el ambiente que ayude a reordenar el desorden.

 Cuando se quiere, los complicados mecanismos cerebrales pueden influirse, utilizando, paradójicamente, el mismo potencial del cerebro. Toda alarma orgánica obliga a hacerlo.

 El primer interesado en cambiar la falsa actitud que tiene frente a la enfermedad debería ser el propio Chávez. Ninguna enfermedad se cura negándola. Y creo que ello está conectado, o es reflejo, de esa área narcisista de la personalidad que no acepta la debilidad, que no acepta la derrota, que no acepta la vencibilidad.



    ¿Cree que el presidente Chávez puede padecer un trastorno bipolar?

    Efectivamente, el trastorno bipolar es una enfermedad. Pero una cosa es la estructura de la personalidad y otra la posibilidad de sufrir cualquier enfermedad. Igual se puede tener diabetes, epilepsia o hipertensión arterial, o lo que sea, con cualquier perfil de personalidad. SU BIPOLARIDAD EXPLICA MUCHAS DE SUS CONDUCTAS, PERO NO CREO QUE SEA LO MÁS RELEVANTE PARA SUS ACTOS, QUE SIGUEN SIENDO, FUNDAMENTALMENTE, EXPRESIÓN DE SU TRASTORNO DE PERSONALIDAD. Abdalá Bucarán la sufrió y fue declarado mentalmente inhábil y depuesto en 1997 por el Congreso de la República de Ecuador. Pero, comparando, lo de Bucarán era una gripe, y la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela, una comedia.

    

¿Qué pasa si el jefe de la secta desaparece?

    La secta implosiona porque no tiene una estructura democrática. ¿Quién es el segundo de Chávez? Nadie. Una cosa muy distinta ocurre en la oposición.

    

¿Cómo ve el tema de la unidad?

    Hace mucho tiempo que los venezolanos esperaban esta conjunción de voluntades en torno a la unidad. La movilización colectiva que se producirá una vez que emerja el candidato en las primarias será indetenible para recuperar a Venezuela. El 23 de Enero quedará corto como hecho histórico.

  28. CharlesC Says:

    Wow!!!!!! Glad to be here at this moment. Thank you so much for this, JMA.
    I had been turning over some things -example
    Abraham Maslow’s theory on “Heirarachy of Needs”
    and the need to study cult theory and how to deprogram cult members-
    re. Venezuelan chavistas, and el pueblo in general.
    People should always be alert to -new terms -esp ones that reverse
    meanings of things- ??example “doublespeak” in 1984 book..
    I mentioned something before and I believe it- the best cure for Chavez-
    is to ignore him. If the audience had turned off TV and not watched Allo Presidente
    and not fell for same Stimulus/response -Pavlovian tricks over and over- Chavez
    would have failed…
    Ignoring Chavez would have killed him. Too late now..
    I only wish you could provide me with a great bedtime story every night JMA!!
    This is much more than that-extremely relevent and summarizing. Biblical, even.
    Absolutely wonderful piece. You inspire me to want to return to the
    University-Thank you again.


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