A Mixed Message From Chavismo On President Chávez’ Health

February 23, 2013

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The truth is that it is really hard to figure out what is going on. If there was one thing Chavismo was very good at, was at using the same script, everyone saying the same thing, even if it was an outright lie. But somehow the message with Chavez’ health has been anything but uniform in the last few days.

After Chávez return, which reportedly was engineered and orchestrated by none other than Diosdado Cabello, the message was that Chávez was well enough to travel and there were celebrations indicating that he was getting better not only from his respiratory problems, but also from the underlying ailment. The “people” celebrated” and the message remained uniform until mid week, when Minister of Information Villegas said in no uncertain terms that Chavez’ respiratory problem was getting worse, not better.

And reading today’s newspapers, you can take your pick at a story with a different opinion. First is Minister of Foreign Relations Jaua, who from Equatorial Guinea, where he went in the Presidential plane, tells us that Chavez’ respiratory deficiency has increased, but the cancer is getting better.

Meanwhile, Minister for Feeding Osorio says that Chávez is recovering in order to take back control of the country. And in the most positive note of all, purported Vice President Maduro, says that Chávez spent five hours meeting with his very selective team of coworkers, during which he communicated by writing.

But a five hour meeting sounds strenuous for someone that we were told required mechanically assisted breathing a week ago for a respiratory insufficiency which has only gotten worse, not better. Someone we have not seen in over seventy days. Someone that was reportedly brought back almost six days ago, but has been unable to take the oath of office that would give legality to a large number of things going on in the country. Chavez’ swearing would have appeared to be Maduro’s first priority (But Diosdado’s last?) to give legality to the tenuous one he has as Vice-President. To allow him to be temporary President if the respiratory insufficiency got even worse in the future.

And Chávez was well enough to hold a five hour meeting with his collaborators, but was unable to see his buddy Evo Moarles even for five minutes on Tuesday, Evo’s second trip to try to see Chávez in the last month and a half. He definitely needs something from Hugo, it must be money that Maduro apparently does not want to release.

And today to top it all off, Dilma Roussfe gets into the game saying Chávez illness is not worrisome and everything is “under control”.

You could have fooled me. Maybe she should try to visit him too.

As for myself, I have no clue what is going on. On Monday, I thought that Chávez would be sworn in speedily to straighten out the possible legal mess of the last 43 days. I had no doubt this would happen before the end of the week. And it is already Saturday and nothing has happened.

Curious, puzzling and surprising, but most of all, the message is as confusing as it has been in the last 74 days, since Chávez first went to Cuba to be operated on.

And a mixed message is the worst thing for the Chavismo faithful, who cling to the hope and the word of their leaders that Chávez will get better yet.

61 Responses to “A Mixed Message From Chavismo On President Chávez’ Health”

  1. Kenneth Price Says:

    Chavez is going to continue to i prove, right up until the moment he drops dead.

  2. Luis Peña Says:

    No oath taking until he can be shown, at least in a 30 second video. He should be so, so bad that no even an additional picture has been produced.

  3. Morpheous Says:

    My guess is that Chavez is not in Venezuela. If he is alive, I believe he is probably being treated in another country (not Cuba). Perhaps he is in Brazil which would make sense of Dilma’s statement. I would not be surprised if Chavez may be even secretly treated in the USA. Haven’t you guys heard about the improving relations between Cuba and the USA? (told by Yoany Sanchez). And where is Diosdado? Just guessing people. What do you think?

    • megaescualidus Says:

      I don’t think he’s in Brazil. One thing is keeping things hermetic in Cuba, but I don’t think they could do that in Brazil.

  4. Bruni Says:

    Miguel, I have been thinking over and over. The whole thing does not make ANY sense. Here’s the list of the events:

    1.- Chavez is TOTALLY silent for 70 days
    2.- There is a picture showing him smiling with his two daughters
    3.- THE NEXT DAY he twitts two messages after coming back in the midlle of the night
    4.- THE NEXT DAY Fidel Castro writes Chávez a letter about the fact that he will no longer be able to get direct news of how he is doing
    5.- THE NEXT DAY the government makes the letter public
    6.- THE NEXT DAY Evo Morales is not allowed to see him
    7.- A FEW DAYS LATER Chávez nominates Jesse Chacón as President of the National Orquestra System
    8.- THE NEXT DAY he spends 5 hours…5 HOURS in a meeting with his cabinet.

    What we know?

    The only thing that we REALLY know is that except for his daughters and ministers NOBODY has been able to see him.

  5. Roger Says:

    What we do know is that every time these guys trying to run the government open their mouth, they put their foot in it and sometimes both feet. It is frustrating but, the longer they do this, the bigger the hole that they dig for themselves. I think that those in the know, know that the chance of this unraveling are very high with no safe solution in sight.The minister of feeding has it right and talked about what people realy care about. FOOD! What Dilma sez is true. Shipments of chicken parts and other food continue to be shipped to Venezuela and with little chance of loosing a customer who how has no choice but to import.

    • Morpheous Says:

      As I said above. Chavez is not in Venezuela. He is in Brazil or other country but not in Venezuela not Cuba. Think of the Dilma’s and Insulza’s declarations. Evo is in the plot as a distraction. The question is why. Probably as simply as last efforts to extend Chavez life for a while.

      • moctavio Says:

        I dont believe such a secret could be kept from the public in Venezuela, least of all given the divisions within Chavismo.

  6. m_astera Says:

    Bruni, calm down. All is well in Venezuela. We are fine.

  7. Dr. Faustus Says:

    Just a thought here…..

    Can you imagine being in a hospital room, doors closed, monitors in every corner of the room and ventilator pumping, with a vacuous~eyed Hugo Chavez for 5 hours? …5 freaking hours! Really? This really happened? Now, hold that thought for a minute, and imagine Nicolas Maduro seated in a rolling office chair, and in that same hospital room, leading the political discussion. Really? A picture of complete and stifling boredom couldn’t even begin to describe this ridiculous scene. But it happened, or so we’re told. At some point Maduro must have turned to a spittle~drooling Hugo and asked him, “Well Hugo, what do ya think of our plan?” Did he merely blink his eyes, or bounce up and down in his hospital bed to signal approval? Really? That really happened?

  8. César Says:

    I find this whole situation so totally offensive. It’s impossible for it to end in a way that is not offensive and outrageous toward Venezuelans. If he is well enough to conduct a five-hour meeting then he’s damn well enough to send a message to the people. Nobody from that meeting has said “Oh, and by the way, during our five-hour meeting, our Comandante sent his regards to El Pueblo Misssmo”. So either the Comandante is a complete jerk, or worse, he has some really dark intentions for Venezuela, or he’s not really well/conscious enough to hold a meeting, in which case they’ve been lying to us for the past 70 days and playing with Venezuela in the most irresponsible way, or for some horrible, unknown purpose. Either option is absolutely outrageous. However, what is trully depressing to me is that when all this ends, nothing will happen, because it never does. We’ve seen too many other outrageous stuff happen with absolutely no consequences.

  9. Coriolis Effect Says:

    The day to look at is Good Friday. On Good Friday, Maduro will sadly announce the passing of El Presidente. What better symbolism could the Chavistas want then Chavez dying the same day that Jesus was crucified?

  10. rib Says:

    Chavez died long time ago, probably few days after the operation. Jaua went to China to ask for more money and Chinese said no, so they had to devaluate and now they have to take more economic measure.
    They need make people think this economic sacrifice is a directive of a live Chavez, both to have it accepted by chavistas and avoid the opposition says that Maduro, Jaua, Cabello and Ramirez are the responsible of . So we will have to wait for more economic stretch, than suddenly Chavez dies and new elections are to do, but they will say that this new economic way, is the will of their unforgettable and eternal leader.

    • deananash Says:

      I agree, I believe that Chavez has already died. And if not dead, then 100% incapacitated. Otherwise, some proof of life should have and would have been presented. Cuba is doing any and everything possible to not lose its golden goose and the Venezuelans are being played for fools.

  11. Susan Sweet Says:

    Over the years in the US, several tombstones have voted in local elections. We are not awed or shocked about the medicine man worship practiced in Venesuela or Cuba. We are just sad. The practice exists here too. Maybe the US could loan our president so that everything could work out for the best ? We could trade for oil. S.

  12. Bruni Says:

    I am pretty calm, but I find totally absurd what is going on. I was using capital letters to emphasize the absurdity.

    I wonder how long can the people of Venezuela, including those that love Chávez, resist that game.

  13. concerned Says:

    My conspiracy theory is that chavez died in cuba in mid december when chavez and the family went sillent. Everything orchestrated after that is a lie…The visits, signatures, photoshoped proof of life photos. Cuba knows that chavez can’t die in cuba, so as the pressure mounted for proof of life or chavez’s return,the family photo and secret trip back into the military hospital were carried out. Now chavez’s health will get progressively worse, and when the timing is right (maduro builds support or opposition is discredited sufficiently), they will take hugo off the ice and inform el pueblo that their beloved leader has passed.

    Will change my theory when proven wrong.

    • moctavio Says:

      Suppose it is tru, why sayhe is getting better, not start the old joke: Chavez se subio al tejado, Chavez se cayo del tejado…

      • concerned Says:

        They had to say he was well enough to travel. Washes cuba’s hands as they can say he was better when he left their “expert” care.

        Recent comments about his improvement are just pacifying el pueblo, and allow them to milk this as long as possible. Expect an infection to do him in at a later date. Until he makes a public appearance, or a credible team is allowed to see him in person to verify, there is no reason to think otherwise. I believe the public deserves to know. At risk now though is the credibility of everyone involved in the coverup. They will have to play it out correctly or risk a backfire from the chavista base.

    • Zebra Says:

      I’m not so sure if he could be even really dead already, but I agree with you, that everything we have seen and we’re seeing is a play to prepare people for the message that Chavez can’t do it and has to retire – a play at least actively running since 10th of January.
      I mean they had to know that this game they can play for a number of weeks: Giving some little stories of his health, “complex treatment”-blabla, signed documents, greetings, letters, information of him evaluating satellite pictures or whatever stuff. Like this they can crawl for a number of weeks, but each more week it becomes harder for them, because people ask questions – and not only the Venezuelans. Morales is only one example, he seems very irritated. So it was clear the time for that kind of game was limited, but I think either they were still hoping a lot, that until end of february they could Chavez at least put again in the “front office”, or they were already clear in their minds he could never be inaugurated practically, but wanted to buy time to get people used to the situation with them, arranging election things, making sure to take measures to “dissociate” the opposition if possible etc. etc.
      I tend to think they hoped for him to have recovered around this time now, because only a little while ago they have started to spread little comments and lines that can raise doubts about his recovery even in the heart of a Chavista – like talking of “palliative treatment” or Jaua who said recently they were always believing/assuming the leadership of Chavez in the “Bolivarian Revolution”. Here, the word “but…” is waiting to complete the line somehow, on a different day, maybe.
      They must draw Chavez out of the game slowly, to avoid a vacuum that is TOO big so that things could collapse. For this, it needs some time and a bit ups and downs messages, slowly preparing, not letting it look like a screenplay. Chavez recovering well, Chavez giving orders, Chavez with respiratory problems, reading newspapers, being back, just too weak, but maybe not so weak, getting worse, but doing the 5 hours…
      They would like to get people used to this for a longer time and to prepare everything in the meantime. But their problem is: Time is exactly what they don’t have that much.
      Would he have recovered, all questions about the past weeks would have been forgotten (by the majority of people), but now that it seems he really can’t do the job, they don’t have much more time to make any clear announcement, if they don’t want to loose credibility of their followers, since each more unclear, vague week would raise more questions in more minds. And if too many people develop the thought, that things they were told finally about him being incapable were maybe clear already 2 months ago… then Maduro & Co. would have the unsolvable problem.
      So they must do their change preparation slow enough to avoid the sudden vacuum, but fast enough to loose any credibility and belief of their followers.
      Also: economic decisions that had to be taken (devaluation, finishing SITME) will show results in the lives of the majority, undoubtedly, very soon. Obviously, they would have liked to delay the devaluation, but it was not possible. Same for other coming, unavoidable decisions, they will all bring their fruits – but fruits of rather bitter taste.
      Assuming that they know he can’t do it for the next 4 years (after which Maduro/Cabello etc. could overtake directly), each day, each week more is eventuallky going to be a disadvantage for them in an election – if they plan to hold elections that we would also call like that.
      Given it would be a real election, based on all the things said above my guess since middle of february is: They will announce his resignation between 24.2. and 6.3.13. Elections end of march/beginning of april. And as usual, they will try to take the opposition by surprise, while they’re probably already preparing it. Some surprises and setting confusion in the minds by putting some contradictionary events on stage that seem suggesting a wide variety of theories – that has been part of their game all the time. But a screenplay has a beginning, and end, and even if improvising in between, you know your plotpoints. Just that they don’t like to play the play under pressure, as they have to now.
      What do you think ?

  14. Paul Says:

    The circus continues…albeit without the head “clown”.

    • megaescualidus Says:

      “The clown” is probably by now sitting next to The Devil, along with Hitler himself, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Caucescu, etc., etc., and there’s an empty seat being saved for his pal, la rata pelu’a de Fidel.

  15. Yngvar Says:

    Three words: Persistent Vegetative State.

  16. island canuck Says:

    Giordani: La inflación es un problema de producción nacional
    http://www.noticierodigital.com/2013/02/giordani-la-inflacion-es-un-problema-de-produccion-nacional/

    Do you think???

    What an idiot!

  17. gordo Says:

    Having just read all the comments above, it appears that Venezuela remains in a politically suspended state as the economy continues its decline. If there is any rational explanation for the abberant behavior of those representing the government, i.e. hate mongering, etc., it appears to be an attempt to abate the erosion of Chavez’s political support while keeping everybody in the dark about Chavez’s health condition. We have always known that Chavez surrounded himself with weak minded lapdogs. This is how lapdogs handle things! As for keeping Chavez hidden away, the most logical explanation is that his condition is terrible. If there was anything positive to make public, I’m sure they wouldn’t need hate mongering. We are in a game of poker between the government and the opposition right now. The government is bluffing!

  18. ECG Says:

    I think we should not over think this. The president probably came back home to die. However I think the inconsistent information may be the result of different factions between chavismo fighting to control the message. Some would like to prepare the path to transition. Others would like to keep pretending that the president is in control.

  19. Joe Says:

    The Chinese (or anyoune else) won’t give us more money or credit until there is at least a semblance of legality in the government. Just in case a later more legal government decides not to pay. Maduro isn’t legal enough. Chavez must walk again. It took the Spanish medical team quite a few years to get Fidel Castro to walk, but there he was today sitting next to his brother at the Cuban people’s Assembly. Chavez could still walk again. Give him time. Meanwhile, we need somebody else to lend us money.

    • gordo Says:

      The government borrowing more money is like drinking sea water in a lifeboat. Feels good, but the problem isn’t dealt with and the thirst get even worse!

    • Wanley Says:

      Castro does not have cancer. Cancer keeps advancing no matter what, Chavez will not walk again and will not last years.

  20. Marypuchy Says:

    Did James Brown ever get buried? ……….
    Just wondering.

  21. cecilio Says:

    dead or alive, he is still in charge and more likely will be still be in charge for a while, his “complices” will make sure this happens

  22. M Rubio Says:

    I’m with those above who believe that Chavez is already dead. It’s the only explanation that explains the insanity of what’s taken place in the last 60 days or so. If he was well enough to travel here he was well enough to have important outside visitors, something that has not happened. If he was so ill that it was absolutely impossible for him to see outsiders, be photographed writing to the people….something…..then he’s probably already dead.

    What a damned circus this is. You’d think eventually someone in charge would actually feel some shame. Guess not.

    • deananash Says:

      Consider their choices….shame, poverty and perhaps exile or death, versus being just one of dozens maintaining the charade. And surely they’re all smart enough to have lifeboats to escape the sinking ship. If I were them, I’d ride it out until it was time to flee. Actually, I wouldn’t be them, but you get my point.

  23. syd Says:

    With very few doubts, over the past year, on the reports from Marquina (his consistently serious, respectful and open delivery won me over), I was surprised to learn that this medical doctor…

    se involucró en el asunto por las consultas que le hicieron familiares y allegados del jefe del Estado que temían que en Cuba no recibiera la asistencia médica adecuada. “Y esos temores no eran infundados, pues en Cuba equivocaron el diagnóstico y el tratamiento de Chávez” …
    Afirma que la información que ha divulgado también la conocieron muchas personas dentro y fuera de Venezuela. “La diferencia, supongo, es que yo no tengo miedo”, expresó en conversación telefónica.

    http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/Cuba-equivocaron-diagnostico-tratamiento-Chavez_0_142187946.html

    • M Rubio Says:

      Ironic, isn’t it?

      • M Rubio Says:

        I might add, if he was misdiagnosed and therefore received the wrong treatment from his Cuban puppet masterbutchers, one can only hope that he eventually realized the error. Imagine his dying thought, “if only I’d gotten treatment in the United States”.

      • syd Says:

        Even if he had received treatment in ‘el imperio’ (wasn’t going to happen), the tumor was already 5 cm diam. when extracted.

        If the practice of medicine is based on common sense, then I think that the underlying conditions for cellular aberration in Chávez were all there, and that sooner or later, cancer would erupt. That’s just my own unproven theory. Ch. did not look after himself, was full of stress and rage, and had a very poor lifestyle. Those are major stress points in the body … mind … spirit continuum. Nothing good could ever come of the road Chávez selected, whether the tumor was properly diagnosed and treated in the US, or elsewhere. That is, without an early and holistic intervention, including proper diet, daily exercise, a lot of therapy, maybe even mood balancing drugs for emotional stability. Just my 2 cents.

    • NET Says:

      Syd, Marquina was great up to some weeks ago, but since has been completely cut out of the loop, by a supposed physical move of Chavez to a more secure facility in Cuba. It is highly likely that Chavez has met his Mephisitophelian Maker, perhaps as much as some 2 months ago.

  24. Ronaldo Says:

    Chavez death is no reason to remove him form office. Just the fear that his staff has of him returning to life will keep them in the party line. No one will go against Chavez until he is buried and DNA test prove it was him that was buried.

  25. Glenn Says:

    My favorite mix of the message is OAS Insulza announcing in Paris this week that we will know if Chavez can continue to govern by next week. If that is true, this is far more information than the boys of Chavez have let out in 3 months

  26. Kepler Says:

    OT, look at this profile:

    http://www.fonden.gob.ve/index.php?m=18&d=2

    On the Insulza thing: I also found that statement quite remarkable and I wondered for a moment if he was going to be corrected by some boliburgués.
    They will probably ignore it.

  27. gordo Says:

    What is supposed to happen next week that decides if Chavez is able to govern or not??

  28. Polls Schmolls Says:

    When a Cancer patient is under a lot of pain he gets treated with morphine or other strong analgesics in order to relieve the agony.

    What are the effects of morphine; well the Psychiatric side effects have included fearfulness, agitation, thinking disturbances, paranoia, psychosis, hypervigilance, and hallucinations.

    Now the above is a very reasonable excuse for screening visitors, for openly admitting that the President is under the influence of psychoactive drugs, basically is openly admitting that he is no condition to manage a country. This is exactly what Chavismo doesn’t want.

    One thing is to say that he is being treated and resting and is also very conscious of his surrounding and another thing is admitting that he is currently as high as a kite!


  29. [...] VENEZUELA A Mixed Message From Chavismo On President Chávez’ Health [...]

  30. Gerrardo Says:

    “What are the effects of morphine; well the Psychiatric side effects have included fearfulness, agitation, thinking disturbances, paranoia, psychosis, hypervigilance, and hallucinations.”

    This is Hugo Chavez on an ordinary day. Really.

  31. lucho Says:

    Are there any news reports/pictures showing the ministers entering the hospital and staying there for at least 5 for the meeting with chavez?

    • syd Says:

      good question. Maduro apparently arrived at the hospital one hour before he made the public announcement that a 5-hour meeting was held with Chávez.

      Do you think the bedsheets were the ministers?

  32. firepigette Says:

    Politicians try to earn success by blaming others.Others try to equally feel good about themselves by blaming others, including the politicians.

    This is the crux of the problem.Who accepts the blame?

  33. Gordo Says:

    “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan”

    John F. Kennedy

  34. Alex (the other) Says:

    It could turn out the government will never pronocunce Hugo Chavez dead. Has nobody ever thought about this scenario? An immortal Chavez? A fictitious Chavez being reelected in 2019?

    It’s so obvious the government is nowhere near disclosing his real condition. Why would we even expect them to do so? They’ve had no difficulty whatsoever in maintaining control of the nation in his absence and why even think they’ll be ousted? – As long as there’s oil money flowing, Venezuelans will vote for Chavez’s conscience-buying model.

    An “immortal” Chavez makes lots of sense. Only when the Chavista era comes to an end -maybe when an alternative source of energy is invented- will confidential files about Chavez’s demise be made public. Very much a la comuniste.

  35. A.M. Mora y Leon Says:

    I think the Thug is dead, too. After three or four relapses, a patient doesn’t make it. And with Castrocare, it’s a certainty he won’t make it..


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