A timeline of Chavez’ mysterious illness

June 22, 2011

While most people are talking about Chavez absence since his operation in Cuba on June 10th., the problems began way before that. This blog first noted Chavez’ absence and more suspiciously, his silence, on May 29th.

But the whole story really started on May 9th. when Chavez called TV Network VTV and said he had to cancel his trip to Brazil, Cuba and Ecuador. Chavez said at the time that that he had an inflamed knee, that he had gone running that day and it got worse and had to cancel the trip. He did not appear on the media to make the announcement.

Two days later, on May 12th. via his Twitter account @chavezcandanga, Chavez said that he had a problem with his senovial fluid and that the doctors were recommending an astroscopic procedure. For the next two weeks, mostly via Twitter, Chavez reported improvements, said he was treating his knee with a “magical herb” Evo Morales gave him, that it was going to be a very slow recovery for his taste, but it was not until May 22nd. that he made a public appearance, saying that his knee was still in bad shape. During this time the US announced the sanctions on PDVSA and Chavez said nothing publicly about them.

Then,  Chavez announced on June 2nd that he would visit Brazil, as he met with former President Lula in private and on June 5th. said he would cancel his Sunday program Alo Presidente for the fifth week in a row, this time in order to have time to prepare for the trip. He did go to Brazil and from there to Cuba.

Then, on June 10th, while in Cuba, it was announced that he had an operation there for a “pelvic abscess” something which is typically a sequel to an operation, an infection, appendicitis, diverticulitis, hysterectomies (not applicable) or peritonitis.

On June 11th., the next day, Chavez called TV network Telesur and used the word “malignant”, saying “there is nothing malignant, there is no infection”. But a pelvic abscess is never malignant and it certainly has to be infectious.

Since then, there has been total silence. Cuban newspaper Gramma distributed this picture of the Castro brothers visiting him:

which some claim is a photoshop version of those taken last December.

This Friday is  a National holiday in Venezuela and some expected Chavez to reappear, but the military parade in Carabobo is likely to be cancelled. And I am told the one on July 5th. for Independnce Day, will also be cancelled as we will not see Chavez in Venezuela then either.

Meanwhile, Chavez’ 5 day permit to be absent from the country has expired, the Vice-President has not been appointed to serve for him in the mean time, which is what the Constitution says should have been done. Vice-President Jaua, unloved within his party says that people want him to commit treason. Funny, following the Constitution can be considered “treason”

And the mystery continues, our take: Hugo is very sick, I am told is something debilitating but not fatal, but his ability to run a campaign is being put into question. There may be crazy jockeying and conspiring going on in Caracas, Havana and PSUV, but somehow the opposition has not focused on the illegalities and contradictions of the situation.

Meanwhile it has been 43 days since the first knee problem and 13 days since the operation in Cuba, 12 since we last heard from the once loquacious Constitutional President of Venezuela…

and counting…

(Chavez’ brother says it will be 10 to 12 days before Chavez returns, that is a three week convalescence for a relatively young man. It must not be something simple)

49 Responses to “A timeline of Chavez’ mysterious illness”

  1. Empresa especializada em Anunciar Empresas na Internet.

  2. Good stuff , Many thanks. It’s fab to stumble upon a fine bloglike yours, especially with useful entries like the one above. Many thanks and keep up the good work.

  3. Mick Says:

    No matter what the illness, if it was serious, there is probably no place else he could go where secrets are better kept than Cuba. Those people are living in the 1950’s and they don’t even know the world has left them behind.

  4. moctavio Says:

    Gringo: All I know is contained here:
    La tan anunciada operación de rodilla no fue tal. Fue una extirpación radical de próstata. La vanidad (hombría) de HCh los llevo a inventar lo de la rodilla.
    Resultado de biopsia post-op fue malo. Se planificó viaje a Cuba para hacer PET scan en el CEMIC (querían evitar traslado en Caracas a uno de los dos centros privados que tienen PET scans operativos) y determinar si había metástasis.
    Para distraer la atención de la enfermedad, y contra la opinión de los médicos, se programó viajes relampago a Quito y Brasilia.
    Llegando a Cuba la subió la fiebre y lo llevaron directo a CEMIC. Al llegar detectaron una infección inguinal severa post operatoria.
    A los pocos días queda controlada la infección, pero los resultados del PET scan son poco alentadores al verse actividad celular anormal en los huesos.
    Se determina que hay que tratar con radioterapia y se fijan sesiones diarias por 25 días, descanso de 10 días y otras 25 sesiones.
    Hay mucha preocupación medica por el tema oseo y no se decide aun como tratarlo. Especialistas de Alemania, Rusia y España han visitado el CEMIC.
    Hay mucha discusión sobre como anunciar todo esto, pero están preparando contingencia. La caída del pelo no se puede solventar en el caso de Chávez con peluca y su estado anímico ha sido terrible; es fatalista y cree que esto se lo “hizo” alguien. No recomiendan que tome sus medicinas para la depresión mientras esta en radioterapia.
    Hay posiciones encontradas sobre el secretismo: parte de la familia dice que la gente no es “pendeja” y sabe que algo esta MUY mal; la otra parte de la familia considera que si se sabe que esto es mucho mas grave o el presidente podría estar incapacitado por meses se desataría una guerra dentro del chavismo que ningún miembro de la familia sobrevivirá.

  5. Gringo Says:

    After reading the above thread on the WSJ article on “prostrate cancer,” which said such rumors were floating around Cuba and Caracas, I was going to ask Miguel Octavio if he had heard of any such rumors/ gossip circulating. No need to ask him after reading the above.

    An infection along with cancer sounds like a difficult situation.

  6. moctavio Says:

    No black humor, most consistent story so far. It was removed in Caracas, went to Cuba and got infected, they are doing radiology and it is not good so far. Will lose hair temporarily. He may have been too late in taking care of it.

  7. moctavio Says:

    Seems to be prostate cancer, radical removal, infected, radiation…

  8. Mike Says:

    It’s pretty clear that Chavez can’t speak presently, for whatever reason, only known to the innermost circle of his.
    Therefore, Bravo Pueblo, why aren’t you in the streets already? He can’t give orders and I am sure his cronies are / would be confused about what to do if you were to march e.g. on Miraflores like you did approx. 10 years ago.
    But I know, new boobs, Blackberries and 18 yr + guisqui are the priorities. So please stop whining. And if you believe that magically everything would be honky dory again, should he be permanently incapacitated, or die – WRONG!

  9. RWG Says:

    Chavez incessantly complains about assassination attempts. He never offers proof. He is probably past 15.300 attempts this morning alone.

    Just maybe, just maybe someone got to him. who would believe Chavez?

  10. m_astera Says:


    I understand how parliamentary governments work. I’m also of the opinion that a legislature that is constantly meeting and making laws is unnecessary and wasteful. Set up a functioning system where government does what needs to be done, apply and enforce the present laws and constitution. That is plenty. I see little gained by adding another book of legislative rules and decrees every year.

    Exactly who is “annoyed by the lack of government?” The average worker, farmer, teacher, doctor, carpenter? I doubt it.

    • Kepler Says:

      Yes, they are annoyed. I mean the lorry driver, the cleaning lady, the bank teller, the scientist, the grocery man. Of course, annoyed is not like in fury as the Tea Party people are. But most people do think it would be nice to have a government finally and you will hear that from time to time in conversations of people who usually never talk about politics.

      There are several reasons for this. The language issue makes the tension more evident. I hear Dutch and French every single day. We meet and discuss and have to deal with Flemish-French issues that do one way or the other evolve depending on politics.

      At the same time, most things work as usual, remarkably well for it.

  11. moctavio Says:

    Carson: Talent? Really? Where? I think if Jaua gets to be President we should change the u to j, he would be President Jaja

    • Roy Says:

      Miguel and Island Canuck,

      I am pretty sure that Bruce Carson’s comments were made with his tongue firmly tucked into his cheek, in spite of saying “But, seriously…”

  12. LD Says:

    I think the opposition shoul press for the election of a new Contralor (Comptroller). There is a remote possibility of getting someone to really take care of corruption and if this fail at least it will be clear why it failed.

    • colon Says:

      Kepler you are right ‘the infection is due to a shot Chávez made to himself while clumsily manipulating a weapon in one of his tantrum fits.”

      He probably stayed too long on all fours and the weapon came from behind…
      Here is the evidence:
      -1st the knee
      -Then the pelvic abscess.

  13. BruceCarson2008 Says:

    The reason as I understand it that he is not speaking is that they have no working microphones in Cuba and the power was out. They are going to enter into a strategic partnership with China to acquire a Microphone and thus bypass the US embargo that has denied Cubans the right to get modern Microphone technology. Once that happens we will hear from Chavez in a few short months.

    Seriously though Chavez better return soon otherwise a new leader could rise up to lead the PSUV there is a lot of talent there ready to come up and lead.

  14. deananash Says:

    Sorry Miguel, don’t let me change your name for you.Wouldn’t

  15. deananash Says:

    Manuel is right, pound them daily to follow the constitution. And not a single negative word about Chavez personally, other than to wish him, like all Venezuelanos, peace health and happiness.

    Of course, mock his policies to pieces.

  16. Dr. Faustus Says:

    A thought…..

    In November of 1939 a carpenter from Schwaben/ Germany planted a ticking bomb in a pillar behind a podium at the Buergerbraukeller in Munich. On that evening Hitler gave his usual speech to his Nazi brown shirts and quickly left. Had he lingered just 10 more minutes at the podium, which he usually did, he would have been dead. Hitler dead in November of 1939. Those 10 minutes could have turned world history on its head. Most historians, especially German, would have placed Adolph Hitler among the greatest Germans, …..ever. His name would have been magical to future generations of Germans. You see, the “consequences” of who and what Adolph Hitler and his Nazi Party represented had not yet played out. No one knew. No one understood. Yes, there were ‘a few’ Jews killed prior to 1939. Just a few. In 1939 the economy was roaring and Germany was united and respected throughout the world. Ask Charles Lindbergh. Ask the former British King and his mistress as he dined with Adolph at Berchtesgaden. Very few people really understood who these people, the nazi’s, were.

    Point? Be careful of what you wish for. The “consequences” of the disasterous economic policies of Hugo and his PSUV have not reached their final result, ….yet. The economic train wreck that is Venezuela is still a few miles down the track. Intelligent and thoughtful people know what’s coming, just as those who commented on the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1930’s. Sometimes people need to actually see the train wreck, before they believe,….and understand.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    My thoughts began wandering today after reading this post http://is.gd/zKTRq9 in the aporrea forum (yuck!) from a month ago, which is quite clearly a death threat to our fearless leader and I got to wondering if he is taking advantage of a minor medical ailment to “hide” in Cuba while the threat is neutralized?

    What do you guys think?

  18. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, I think they are doing that. Of course, they are doing it luckwarmly…I think only a couple of them. Let’s bug them about that.

  19. ErneX Says:

    I hope he stays in Cuba forever.

  20. moctavio Says:

    The whole thing is clearly illegal, I would emphasize the illegality of anything that has been done and the fact that Jaua should be Presidente Encaragado. I would say it every day, emphasizing that if Chavez is sick enough not to even call, who is running the country and this is part of the incompetence of the Government.

  21. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, what would you suggest for the opposition to win from this?

  22. moctavio Says:

    Yes, the opposition should be taking adavantage of it, but it certainly isn’t. Sad.

  23. A. Barreda Says:

    The guy doesn’t look good, that’s for sure, but I couldn’t care less about him. I have the feeling that his stay in Cuba will be longer than those 10 days announced yesterday by his brother. They may as well keep postponing his return, 5-10 day every time, until 2-3 months have passed.

    Beyond all the speculations, there’s even a more important matter: It’s pretty clear that the country is pretty messed up, and the only thing capable of distracting us of that is the incessant blabber of Hugo I.

    Under this circumstances, shouldn’t the opposition be taking advantage of his absence?

  24. bobthebuilder Says:

    The biggest lie he’s ever told is that he damaged his knee when running. Just look at him! This guy hasn’t been running since dinosaurs ruled the earth!

  25. Roberto N Says:

    Eric, not to nitpick, but that jacket does have 8 stars. Just look right under the right armpit, and you’ll see a star there, partially hidden by a fold.

    Chavez may be many things, but no way in hell he’s going to have that kind of slip.

    Which made me think, I’d love to bury him with a 7 star flag on his coffin.

    • Rania Says:

      Thank you for taking turns that good subecjt matter on the site. I ran across it on the internet. I am going to check an extra chance after you post extra aricles.

  26. loroferoz Says:

    “There had to be a positive thing in this cult of personality… his image as the strong man is for sure damaged.”

    The more this drags up, the more benefits we have. If he rushes recovery, and has a condition, well… Win-win situation. And remember, his health condition will “sube cerro”.

    This is the best gift he could have made to Venezuela.

    He getting his hide murdered is unthinkable and dangerous. An accident would have been an excuse for making him a martyr or hinting that he was murdered. Waiting for Venezuela to collapse under his rule could do Venezuela in. Him losing elections next year, just to wait out an opposition government that would have to make all the hard decisions, he waiting like a prey animal somewhere else to stage a triumphant return from Cuba maybe. These were situations you looked on with a heavy heart.

    And there has been concrete benefit: 5 Alo Delincuente in a row missed. No “expropiese”. No Hugo Chavez.

  27. maria gonzalez Says:

    He is sick, but I am sure that he will take advantage of this situation pretty soon. He will recover and start his story telling about how he was just so worry about Venezuela bla bla bla…great media cover and many cadenas in the future…and we never will get the complete information.

  28. Kepler Says:

    Really: this reminds me of the times with Chernenko. But I think it is like Miguel said. Although: a doctor who knows a Chavez nurse told a doctor 🙂 I know the infection is due to a shot Chávez made to himself while clumsily manipulating a weapon in one of his tantrum fits. Only God and Chávez’s main doctor know the truth.

    In Belgium people are annoyed with the lack of government. That situation definitely debilitates the country. Still, there is a “goverment for running affairs” which is just the previous one plus the parliament. Big decisions are put off, but otherwise people just go on as usual and Leterme receives the international guests etc.
    Now: this is a parliamentary, not a presidential democracy. That is a different kind of fish, so one person missing is not that big deal.

    Now: we should send a clear, short message: JAUA, CUMPLE LA CONSTITUCIÓN


    Hugo’s face hasn’t looked precisely like George Clooney’s – ever.

  29. LD Says:

    Seeing Adan Chávez talk, there is no clue to a conscius Chávez, like “he was optimistic”, or “joking” or “he told me how much he loves el pueblo de Venezuela”… nor “he wants to go home as soon as possible” …

  30. LD Says:

    There had to be a positive thing in this cult of personality… his image as the strong man is for sure damaged.
    Interesting enough, Adan Chávez don’t refer about talking to his brother.
    Last time we hear of “franca recuperación” it was Russian…

  31. Buster Hymen Says:

    maybe you all will get really lucky and he will die in cuba……

  32. m_astera Says:

    As of June 1, Belgium had been without a government for 353 days. How are the people able to survive?

  33. LGL Says:

    There is quite a bit of speculation going on in twitter about “PSUV primaries” to choose a candidate for the 2012 elections, with Adan Chavez, the VP, and Diosdado as the candidates. The postings make it sound like this is actually being considered within the party under the scenario that HCh will be unable to run because of some un-named debilitating ailment (but not necessarily something lethal). Of course, it’s impossible to tell if these people are in the know, or merely blowing smoke…

  34. Dr. Faustus Says:

    “And I am told the one on July 5th. for Independnce Day, will also be cancelled as we will not see Chavez in Venezuela then either.”


    The 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and Chavez won’t be there? Really? All the heads-of-state from South America, Central America, in Caracas and Chavez won’t be there? Oh my. This is big…..

  35. Gringo Says:

    Chavez reported improvements, said he was treating his knee with a “magical herb” Evo Morales gave him.

    Evo didn’t send him some more pasta de coca?

  36. moctavio Says:

    I agree the silence is great and the fact he is not running the country is a big positive.

  37. firepigette Says:

    His face looks terrible

  38. Glenn Says:

    I would think we would celebrate the silence.

  39. island canuck Says:

    Announced earlier today that he would return next week.

    Just announced in El Universal quoting Adan Chavez that the estimate for his return is now 10 days.

    Looks to me that they just keep pushing it more & more into the future.

    And does Cuba not have any microphones? Why has Chavez not addressed the nation, even from Cuba?

    I like the rumour that he has flipped out more & more. Living for years with the sword of Damocles over his head. Living with all that paranoia & Morales’ magic herbs. 🙂

  40. Eric Says:

    Seven stars! Why, that’s…TREASON!

    Why, my oligarch-escuálido-golpista friends wear clothing, hats and insignia with seven-stars on them to protest Chavez’s arbitrary decision to junk the old flag and create a new, revolutionary eight-star flag.

    Curiouser and curiouser…

  41. Groucho Marxist Says:

    I can’t tell for sure weather or not the second photo is a photoshop, but I can assure you that what he’s wearing is not the jacket we all know (and make fun of) that he usually wears, and that he’s wearing in the first pic. To begin with, his jacket has 7 stars, not 8. (you can get a better look at the jacket here: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-J1eY23OTYP4/TZW0jtogmEI/AAAAAAAABzE/c273HAGnz8o/s1600/chavez-santos.jpg )

    However, given this is Chavez we’re talking about. He probably has 50 of those jackets, each one with the stars clumsily placed in different places and with different total number of stars.

  42. boz Says:

    To add, Chavez went missing for a whole week in early February (5-12 February). The government claimed he had the “flu”. He also, with limited explanation, missed a number of Alo Presidente appearances around that time. There was something going on with his health before the May announcement.

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