The day Hugo Chavez shouted “Viva Chavez!” during his farewell procession down to the airport to leave for Cuba, you knew he had reached a new level of megalomania and irrationality. And this happens to be important, because it appears as if the genius behind Chavismo manipulation and use of the media was none other than the autocrat himself.
Because ever since Chavez got sick, the quality and the impact of media manipulation by the regime seems to have deteriorated and in the last few weeks has been totally off the mark, at a time that it is most needed.
It all began with the opposition primaries.(Which thanks God took place before Chavez’ relapse that prompted his trip to Cuba.) First Chavismo decided to lower expectations for the vote to ridiculously low levels. When I heard opposition people talking about maybe a million votes in the primary, I knew someone had drunk the Chavista Kool Aid. To me, defeat was a million and a half, even though I did not think three million was doable. But Chavistas really played it down, from saying there would not be a million voters, to suggesting the primary would not even take place. Thus, when three million votes were reached, Chavismo was truly caught leaning the other way, wondering what had happened.
And rather than play it down, Chavismo took the cue from the Generals and began questioning the veracity of the vote, which had been run by the Chavista Electoral Board, which did not like the questioning and went to extremes to defend their integrity. Come on! They can bend the rules, but not for the opposition. But maybe the winds of change are blowing and behind covering is going to become a national sport soon, no?
And just when this was leading the headlines, Chavez decided to reveal he was sick again. Despite his assurances to the faithful that he was cancer-free, not a single cancer cell in his body and ready to live for twenty years, Hugo had known since January that things were not fine.
And Hugo decided to call his tumor a “lesion” (An injury, for those that do not speak Spanish), using that funny doublespeak with respect to his ailment. And according to VP Jaua, the “lesion” was removed, but, how can you remove surgically a “lesion” without creating another one?
To say nothing of Cabello and Izarra laughing at Bocaranda for telling us Chavez was not only in Cuba, but was going to need an operation soon. As Cabello and Izarra helped prop up Bocaranda’s reputation with their tweets, Chavez went on nationwide TV to tells us they were out of the loop, but Bocaranda, somehow wasn’t. Diosdado must not have been happy.
Then, at some point, it seemed Chavismo was ready to regroup, Chavez appointed a single spokesman for his illness (Spokeswoman actually) Minister of Health Sader. She was due to give us a report on Monday, but Monday came and went and nothing…We have yet to hear from her.
Once again, Chavez is too busy taking care of himself and Minister Sader has been overruled by those that want to show they have power.
Then VP Jaua read some prepared text in the middle of his speech at the National Assembly. He never said who wrote it, but he read it all, down to the “La Habana, Cuba” written at the bottom of the piece of paper he had been given (or ordered) to read.
And while we are still waiting for the person Chavez anointed to be the spokeswoman for the illness, the Minister for Communes (Of all people) tells us that the Government is being clear and transparent and that VP Jaua is the only spokesperson for the illness and, of course, blames the media for the confusion.
Who authorized her to say anything?
Meanwhile, all we know is that Chavez is in “good physical shape”, but we guess that Jaua or anyone, would have said that before the “procedure” that Chavez underwent in Havana. As to the”procedure”, it must have been rather simple, it took after all, only an hour and half, barely time to open and take a look, let alone to take a tumor or a “lesion” or even a hemorrhoid out.
So, we still don’t know, but the secrecy speaks louder than words. Things have barely changed since last summer. The predictions of Navarrete are behind schedule by maybe one only month. The country’s bonds have soared day after day, as if someone knows something about the upcoming and inevitable political change.
And Chavismo can do little to change the feeling that somethings is not right. Their leader is not around and he clearly played a definitive role in setting the stage and the discussion.
As for yours truly, I have not changed my predictions. To those that read the comments, I said long ago my late April birthday was a key time reference. I will continue to stick my neck out with that. Now more than ever. Worst case, I will be wrong by a few weeks.
I have done worse.