Looking backwards and forward at Chavez’ absence

June 26, 2011

By now, the media and the country are full of rumors and tips about Chavez health. While few believe Wikileaks Argentina’s story that the President passed away, one can’t help but wonder what Foreign Minister Maduro meant by saying “Chavez battles for his life” or why Chavez’ mother said “I pray to God that he heals him fast and brings him back”.

In Venezuela, people go back and forth between Chavez’ demise and the other extreme, that this is just a ploy to bring back a triumphant and healthy Chavez as a way to prop back his popularity.

I subscribe to neither of these scenarios. I think that we are simply playing out the same scenario that led me to write a post on May 29th. , that received little attention. Now, I did not write that post because I had a vision, a particularly insight or anything of the sort, I wrote it because I received information that Chavez had something which was not the knee, it was something debilitating, something very painful, but not something fatal. This simply meant that the upcoming presidential campaign would have a diminished Chavez, which given his lower popularity and increasing protests would imply the opposition had a better chance that I give it credit for.

What seems to have happened since then is that there were sequels from the operation which have made Chavez’ condition worse, from an infection of the wound to a possible expansion of the cancerous prostate. This last part I have been unable to confirm, but it does not change the outlook dramatically. Removal of the prostate and the cancer related to it and it surrounding is not something that causes death in 90-plus percent of the cases. Chavez is relatively young (younger than me, thus young in my book), which is both good (stronger), but also bad (tumors speaed faster in younger people).

Thus, to me things look the same as they did two weeks ago, there are complications, but so far, the original story given to me is true: he has a debilitating, painful and likely non-fatal illness which will diminish his physical and likely mental ability to develop his typical frontal, twenty four hour, seven days a week campaign that he has done in the past. This weakens him at a time of weak popularity and as I said in the comments, it is a game changer.

There is also now the theory that this is simply a ploy to bring back a triumphant Chavez. While Chavismo may be thinking about that, I don’t believe for a minute that this was the original plan.The reasons are many.

To begin with, there is no question that Chavez has been ill. He was absent form the media in May, had a cane and talked about a knee problem. As I said in my first post on the subject, a painful knee does not stop you from sitting in front of a camera and give a speech, even a short one if you are taking very strong pain killers.

The subsequent events after May also don’t fit this picture. We saw no picture with Lula, but they clearly met. He then left for a meeting with Brazil’s President and he looked better, still using a cane. Then came the news from Cuba. If the ploy to bring back a resurgent Chavez began then and his operation there was fake, why have him speak for twenty minutes on Sunday June 12th., only to later silence him? Why turn twitter on and off in bursts that do exactly the opposite of their intent?

Chavze also missed too many chances to blast the enemies, when PDVSA received sanctions from the US Government or to say something about his Comptroller, who died in Cuba a week ago, or the 190th. anniversary of the Battle that seal Venezuela’s independence which was last Friday.

It may be that now that he is getting better this is what they are thinking of doing, but they have to be pretty sure that a) Chavez will recover by a certain date, July 5th. the 200th. anniversary of our Independence and b) that Chavez will look fine then. It does not appear they are.

In fact, the most damaging comment was Adan Chavez’ (his brother) comment saying Chavez would be back in ten or twelve days. Such a specific period implies a medical opinion, a procedure that last that long, otherwise you would say the President will be back whenever he wants or something like that.

And then we got the statements from Maduro and Chavez’ mother about his health. From Maduro I would belive a ploy, but to involve Chavez’ mother, I simply don’t buy it. He is sick, recovering and we will see him at some point.

That’s my take.

40 Responses to “Looking backwards and forward at Chavez’ absence”

  1. […] the outcome of Hugo Chavez’ healthAn ominous warning against democracy from Hugo Chavez’ brotherLooking backwards and forward at Chavez’ absenceBest kept secret in Caracas? Chavez has PC?Revisiting Venezuela’s DebtA timeline of Chavez’ […]

  2. […] died in Cuba this morning. 06/25/2011 08:43AM.” The WikiLeaks report has been received with great skepticism, was discounted in a Business Insider article, and has not generally been picked up by the media, […]

  3. […] died in Cuba this morning. 06/25/2011 08:43AM.” The WikiLeaks report has been received with great skepticism, was discounted in a Business Insider article, and has not generally been picked up by the media, […]

  4. CarlosElio Says:

    albionoldboy Says:
    So after Starlin Communism collapsed in Russia?
    or how about Kim Il-sung in north Korea?
    Or how about Mao in China?

    After Stalin, all Stalinist policies were abrogated by Khrushchev, which lead to big chasm with the Chinese, and opening of relations with the West. After Mao, his wife was thrown in jail along with the other motherfuckers of the gang of 4 and Deng Xiao Ping convinces all the good comrades to look for cats who could catch a mouse, regardless of the color of their skin. After Kim Il-Sung his clone son was in power, so that was not a game changer. The point is that although communism did not fall in these countries, the dominant political and economic priorities of the state were declared void and new ones were ushered in. This amount to a change of political system.

    In Venezuela we have a political elite nursed in insults, deception, treacherous agreements, lies and mistrust. When chavez leaves the scene, a horde of the most unscrupulous types would be at each other’s throats in the name of the proletariat. And they will drag into their boiling pails a good many corrupt as well as innocent bastards.

    Mormonism was a movement based on the revelations given to a charlatan. When Joseph Smith died, scores of splintered groups emerged, each one claiming a monopoly on prophecy. The bottom line is that ANY movement created by a strong-willed individual will bring a carnival of masked bastards vying for power. And a lot of people will end up in hospitals or cemeteries.

  5. Jeffry House Says:

    I think Chavez is phoning and tweeting, but not appearing physically, because of hair loss connected to radiation therapy. It takes a while to grow it back.

  6. Gerrardo Gordon Says:

    Now is the time to watch the flows of funds, cash, and families out of Venezuela. Just as the families of high level Cubans have left Cuba or have an alternative country ready to live in, families of high level Venezuelans will seek the security of themselves and their financial assets in other parts of the world.

    Adnan may seem confident but his escape has already been planned.

  7. GWEH Says:

    KA, What happened is that Venezuela became a narco-state and big-brother Adan is one of its kingpins. Adan and Hugo both have expiration dates. Adan has a date with US courts and jails. That indictment will come or my name is not GWEH.

  8. Roy Says:

    Adan Chavez knows that unless a Chavez is in power in Miraflores, his family’s fiefdom in Barinas is in jeopardy.

  9. Roy Says:


    I agree with your intent, but I have to quibble with your attribution. It was Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber, who said, “You can get more with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone.” Willie Sutton and Al Capone were both of the same era. And, it should be noted, they both spent their end days in prison.

  10. metodex Says:

    I have a chill down my spine, probably all my wishful thinking and all i’m hoping to happen.
    But another thought troubles me, the president’s gone and it’s total information chaos.Also, i think we’re being fooled big time.

  11. KA Says:

    GWEH, you used to be so pessimistic, what happened? haha

  12. Gringo Says:

    Miguel Octavio
    Adan Chavez has a problem, Artivle 238 of the Constitution that says he can not be VP, so can’t replace Jaua to become next in line.

    Since when has Chavismo been concerned about following the Constitution that Chavismo wrote? Only when convenient.

    Though I would agree with you that any Chavista attempts to circumvent the Constitution that Chavismo wrote should be loudly denounced, and often.

  13. megaescualidus Says:

    I wouldn’t be so sure that, as GWEH, “we’re in the endgame”. Some people thought the endgame was “el paro”, and here we are, quite a few years later.

  14. GWEH Says:

    We are in the endgame and Adan Chavez is running scared because he controls the dope trade. They are up against all odds … not looking good

  15. albionoldboy Says:

    Chavez said “the revolution is peaceful but armed”

    Al Capone said “you can get further with a kind word and a gun,
    than a kind word alone”

    I suppose all gangsters all have the same philosophic outlook.

  16. moctavio Says:

    Adan Chavez has a problem, Artivle 238 of the Constitution that says he can not be VP, so can’t replace Jaua to become next in line.

  17. Dr. Faustus Says:

    Adan Chavez clearly ‘knows’ the true medical condition of his brother Hugo. Other top officials appear nervous as well. Adan knows what’s going-on. Something shook him up enough to offer this quote today:
    “Quoting Latin American revolutionary icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the president’s brother added: “It would be inexcusable to limit ourselves to only the electoral and not see other forms of struggle, including the armed struggle.”
    Armed struggle? Wow. That has nothing to do with democracy; That’s a threat! What if the opposition achieves 51% plurality? Are they then not allowed to reverse all of Hugo’s economic policies? They would be ‘using the same logic’ to justify economic actions as the PSUV. Right? What if all government corporations were privatised again by the ‘new’ government , (except Pdvsa)? What if the new government decides to take all AK-47’s off the streets? What if the Venezuelan press were free again? According to Adan this ain’t gonna happen. Read his words again. There will be an armed struggle. People will die. The logic that justified 11 years of Chavez rule, a majority at the ballot box,……be damned. Damned to hell. According to Adan, an armed struggle will occur, even if the opposition receives 51%. This is the truth. You’re getting a real look behind the curtain. The illness of Hugo Chavex cannot be a fraud when these kinda of ‘thoughts’ are paraded in front of the public during times of uncertainty. Frightening.

  18. Bill near Slidell Says:

    It usually takes a major knee injury from some type of impact to do enough damage to the knee to require the use of strong narcotic painkillers to relieve the pain. Acetaminophen alone will usually do the job. If not, a little codeine mixed with it will do the job. So medicated, you can easily give speeches, unless you take two of the maximum codeine dose ones. Even then, you can give a short, slow speech, with some yawning.
    The Mouth has some other health problem, the pain from which, may have been masked by drug use. He wouldn’t be the first to get carried away with free drugs.
    If he survives, maybe he will come back a changed man, hopefully for the better. We can only hope.

    • albionoldboy Says:

      Now that Chavez has to “remember thou art mortal” he will push the “process” to the hilt, and stick it to the Venezuelan people, and at he same time making way for for his money garbing family to inherit his “property” “Venezuela” the country is faced with a “do or die” situation.

      • loroferoz Says:

        I wouldn’t give a “movement” based on the personality and charisma of one man a lot of possibilities should that one man fall ill.

        • albionoldboy Says:

          So after Starlin Communism collapsed in Russia?
          or how about Kim Il-sung in north Korea?
          Or how about Mao in China?

          Its not a given that if Chavez croaks, that’s then end for the Chavez agenda

          • Roy Says:

            The Soviet Union was not democracy, but neither was it a dictatorship. The Politburo and the various state institutions held real power, and there was a process of succession.

            In North Korea, Kim Il-Sung groomed Kim Jung-Il as his successor. When he died, there existed an heir-apparent that had been agreed upon by the military.

            China had different forms than the Soviet Union, but there was a central committee and institutions that could perpetuate themselves.

            No, it is not a given that Chavismo would croak with Chavez, but without an heir-apparent and with the very weak, ineffective, mediocre characters who have been put in place at the top levels of government that is the way to bet.

  19. Pygmalion Says:

    Latest rumor is that Chavez is already in Caracas spying on how things are handled. If he does die or step down there will be a blood bath here where I live in Chacao.

    • loroferoz Says:

      As if anyone in Chacao cared about Hugo Chavez, except to see the coffin go by, with a wide smile on their faces.

  20. My Conspiracy theory: Rumors vs Tumors

    1. Adan Chávez will be the new Vice President once Hugo Chávez comes back and then he will step down temporarily for the rest of his term.
    2. Adan Chávez will be the PSUV presidential candidate and being President will allow him to have access to Cadenas
    3, MUD has to be careful and go with the unitary candidate all the way. Maybe the MUD candidates think that going against Hugo’s brother they can go alone

    • moctavio Says:

      Adan Chavez is so stiff and lacks so much charisma that he makes any opposition candidate look good. He can not be appointed VP, Art. 238 of the Constitution.

      • LD Says:

        But could a two step castling be legal? First Jaua as president, vp ACh, then Jaua steps down because of (fill here with some excuse).

  21. loroferoz Says:

    Don’t we forget that recently Adan Chavez, (in the same occasion where Chavez’s mother prayed for his health) spoke about other methods of fighting different from electoral to PSUV militants:


    Yes, I know, every opposition and independent media should roast the man thoroughly for these declarations, and demand that he be indicted. Our ineffable “fiscales generales” have indicted or sent opposition people to jail for much less…

    Also, it is VERY telling that he is no longer confident in electoral victory (by Hugo Chavez) or on the continuing legitimacy of the Revolution by electoral or otherwise legal-like means.

    It is quite a change of message for a “Revolution” that boasted of being peaceful. Either Adan Chavez is quite unnerved, or something necessitates this change of message.

  22. GWEH Says:

    don’t buy the denial… too little too late. I will bet anyone a burger at the locale of their choice that Chavez will not be fit for the rigours of a campaign.
    Adan’s inflamatory remarks suggest presidential ambitions and jockeing for position among other hopefuls. His speech was full of doctrinaire marxist jargon

  23. LGL Says:

    Did anybody catch the quote in El Universal from Adan Ch regarding non-electoral means to further the revolucion? Spur of the moment and meaningless or testing the waters. Haven’t been able to find a second source for the quote…

    “Pidió a los militantes no olvidar la lucha armada además de la vía electoral como forma de mantener el poder y concretar la revolución. “La revolución nació en época bicentenaria y lo hizo por la vía electoral y queremos seguir por ahí, por una vía pacífica que permita construir socialismo bolivariano, pero conscientes de los peligros que nos acechan y que el enemigo no descansa, no podemos olvidar como auténticos revolucionarios, otros métodos de lucha”.


  24. captainccs Says:

    I don’t believe creating rumors helps. The WikileaksAR rumor was evidently a fraud to anyone who knows how Wikileaks operates: They collect and verify documents before releasing them, they don’t transmit “breaking news.”

    One possibility is that Chavez overdosed on Evo candy, using it as a pain reliever.

    Today the GNB was out in some force acting like traffic cops. What are they worried about? I haven’t heard you comment on it but the Policia Metropolitana has been replaced by the military, by GNB. Every day we are more under siege, more in a police state, a lawless police state. But people seem to be taking it in stride. They just built a “puente” like on any other long weekend.

    Funny that they didn’t fly the Russian crap jets on Friday, the national holiday, but on Saturday. Did they forget? Did they get confused? Did they get contrarian orders? Maybe the Cuban generals running the show didn’t know about the holiday.

  25. Kepler Says:

    Well, perhaps Adan said 10 days because that’s just before 5th July and Huguito told him he would be there for that day, he may be sick, debilitated and wanting or needing to take a pause, nothing more than a pause???

  26. carne tremula Says:

    about the mom … It is usual that moms are left in the dark, specially in not too urban families. My in-laws are from Barquisimeto and my mother-in-law is always the last to know the full version of anything bad that happens.

  27. HalfEmpty Says:

    Does it make any difference now how sick or how well he is? Clay feet are hard to run with.

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