Hugo Chavez announces he chooses to be treated in Cuba over Brazil

July 15, 2011

This afternoon, President Hugo Chavez announced that he will be going to Cuba to receive chemotherapy for the cancer that affects him. This is a surprising decision that reportedly goes against the wishes of his daughters. It was our understanding that the doctors from the Syrian Lebanese Hospital in Brazil were not clear on what precise treatment to follow, while the Cuban had already made a decision when he left that island.

It is unclear what tipped the decision. From a technical point of view Chavez would be better off in Brazil, Venezuela or a country like Canada, the quality and size of cancer treatments in these three countries is considered to be much more advanced than that of Cuba, even if in Cuba, he could be taken care off by doctors of other nationalities. It is likely that in the end ideology tipped the decision Cuba’s way. I am sure that Fidel Castro and Chavez’ brother Adan put a lot of pressure on the Cuban choice. An isolated Chavez in Havana is much more under control than one in Sao Paulo in a private hospital. Those that have the most to lose, will now control the day to day life of the Venezuelan President and, indirectly, over the country.

Chavez gave hints of the severity of his illness when he said he underwent two “complex” operations in Havana, which contradicts his earlier stories of a single well defined tumor the size of a baseball earlier this week. He also said he had given “ample” details about these operations, which contradicts reality. We still have no idea what type of cancer the Venezuelan President has.

Chavez apparently will not  leave Vice-President Jaua in charge when he leaves tomorrow. This and the fact that he is going to Cuba bodes badly for the possibility that there will be a smooth transition with or without Chavez. The Cubans will control what is said, who says it and when it is said. Their favorite and trusted successor Adan is with them. This could hide the truth in the same way it has been hidden for weeks and leaves the country unattended and without a President or under the hands and control of a foreign State that has the most to lose if Chavez were to be defeated in 2012 or is too ill to continue being the President of Venezuela.

In the end, Chavez’s fate may be sealed by the same factors that have made his Presidency so impractical and ineffective. He may have taken a decision to be treated in Cuba, based on ideology and emotions, rather than on the facts and on the capability and preparation of those that will treat him.

In the end, we may never learn the truth…

56 Responses to “Hugo Chavez announces he chooses to be treated in Cuba over Brazil”

  1. moctavio Says:

    I wrote about what i see a while back, depends on whether Chavez is or not a candidate, lots of infighting. The key point is when the candidate is chosen, that is when some will leave the ship. No postponement. I dont even see Capriles jailed, that may be a ploy to insure he becomes the candidate. Adan is unacceptable to 80% of PSUV, Diosdado a Maduro, Maduro is my bet.

  2. megaescualidus Says:

    In view of these latest set of news, does anyone venture to hypothesize on what the path to the 2012 elections look like? Choice A: postponed? Choice B: all oppo candidates jailed? Choice C: the PSUV runs with a “designated batter” (Adan, or someone else)?

    Miguel, have you thought about this?

    Is there any indication that some rats (maybe the really fat ones) are thinking about abandoning ship? Or is this too optimistic (“we’re truly not there yet..”)? Maybe we just have to simply keep waiting (it’s only been 12 years, right?). How about one or two more years? That’s nothing compared to having to wait until 2021, right?

    The opposition is really pathetic. In the end it may be HC himself (or his lack of health, rather) who truly determines the future of a whole country. Again, I cannot stop thinking how pathetic Venezuela’s opposition is, with so many wasted opportunities, so many so called oppo leaders counting the chicks before they’re born, so many of them still inmersed in the mindset that sent the country to the abyss it is in…

  3. HalfEmpty Says:

    If that’s the case he should seriously consider his place in history and do a mass parole of political prisoners, resign and hope for the best.

  4. moctavio Says:

    Syd: The info I have is the Brazilians said 20% survival probability in twelve months…

    • liz Says:

      Miguel, I really like your informer…. and seriously now, how much damage has the man done to my country, my family and myself that I can honestly cheer for these posts.

  5. Ira Says:

    He is a dead man…a serious dead man..walking.

    Let’s remember that he returned to VZ for a mere TEN/ELEVEN DAYS, on July 5th in the darkness of the night. And he’s headed back to Cuba already?

    Forget about predictions of death in 2012 or 2013:

    He’ll be dead by this November–just in time for our American Thanksgiving.

  6. Roy Says:

    The fact that he is leaving without a change in the VP indicates a deadlock in the ongoing internal power struggle within the Government. Chavez could have weighed in and broken the deadlock by anointing his successor, but has not done so, thus denying even the possibility of his own mortality, and putting his own welfare above that of the nation (no surprise there).

    Fasten your seat belts, folks. It looks like we are in for a bumpy ride.

  7. anon Says:

    The crux of the matter is that the Cuban commitment to secrecy due to their interests in Venezuela make it preferable to Brazil, where details will surely leak out and make things difficult for Chavismo to remain in power if the cancer is really serious. I wonder if cancer treatment on the island is up to par with that in Brazil, but I bet my boots that it’s surely not. Good riddance Hugo, que te vaya bonito …

  8. […] and that Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo has traveled to Brazil for his own cancer treatment, Fidel may be the one calling the shots (emphasis added), It is unclear what tipped the decision. From a technical point of view Chavez […]

  9. […] and that Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo has traveled to Brazil for his own cancer treatment, Fidel may be the one calling the shots (emphasis added), It is unclear what tipped the decision. From a technical point of view Chavez […]

  10. Dillis Says:

    I don’t wish ill health on any human being, but you have to think this is karma for what he has done to Judge Afiuni. Where can she go to receive treatment?!

  11. Carlos Says:

    I think security and real info security are the reasons to pick Cuba.
    It is especially important for all the petit commitee that will rule in Venezuela on behalf of Hugo. They can restrict, change, modify, any info for the media. They cannot do it in a brasilian hospital. If this will be a strong and huge chemoterapy we will not see any pic or video from Hugo for a long time. We will see His brither, Jaua, and so on, reading “speeches” from him. Sentences like “I spoke with the president today and he told me to …..” will be the new code.

  12. Dr. Faustus Says:

    I think Mike got it exactly right. Nice post.

  13. Ken Price Says:

    As a colon cancer survivor myself, I can sympathize with Chavez. Large abdominal tumor is NOT a good sign. Colon cancer is very aggressive, and in the later stages, hard to treat. A large tumor would appear to indicate (at least) stage 3, possibly stage 4. Cuba can certainly obtain the latest drugs needed for chemotherapy, but the side effects can be brutal. I suspect that Chavez will be out of the country for many months.

  14. Mike Says:

    Hugo is clearly shaken. The invincible Superman facing his mortality. He lookes confused, insecure, alone / abandonded and his voice Is at the point of breaking. No more “muerte” in his favorite revolutionary slogan, but unconvincingly talks about phase 2 and full recovery. And, not surprisingly, suddenly finds religion again as a straw to cling onto.

    Then, the face of his daughter to his left (camera right) speaks volumes. She is close to tears, particularly when she looks upwards as if begging God for help. A Behavioral Analyst would have a field day. Clearly, things are a lot worse than “they” make us believe.

    Why Cuba? I know I am not the first to say this, but the reason is clear: control of information. Anywhere else, details about the severity of his condition would leak. The power of ideology is amazing: he chooses it over and above the best treatment to save his LIFE! Or, he is so ignorant or brainwashed by the Cubans that he actually believes the BS about Cuba’s healthcare being second to none?

    He does know however that, going with Cuba, is his best option to remain in power, which shows the power of power. Most “normal” people would put survival above all, but not Hugo. He will learn his lesson about life going forward, but not yet for right now. At the same time, it’s no coincidence that he “discovers” Nietzsche and his e.g. “Eternal recurrence / Nihilism / Übermensch / Will to Power” writings (

    In other words, it looks like he hasn’t accepted yet, in terms of the eventual human destiny of all of us, that he is in deep sh…, as far as the possible timing of his demise.

    • syd Says:

      I’m glad you noticed Chavez’ daughter (camera right), Mike. I thought it was just me, thinking the same thing about the daughter’s facial expressions which were quite subtle, but revealing in the first part of the video. Where are the carómetristas when you need them?

      One other thought that crossed my mind, but I’ve been reluctant to say because, frankly, I could be wrong: Ch. is going to Cuba to die, maybe not tomorrow, but it could happen within a year; he could be in worse shape than we know. And in Cuba he would be buried with the highest honours. Fidel would see to it. In Venezuela, I’m not so sure that his tomb would be safe.

      As for the rest of your observations, they are intriguing. Many thanks.

  15. Caracola Says:

    Why he doesn’t get treated in Venezuela? I’m hoping for Pyg or that Judi girl to answer me this question, which is a question people in Venezuela sould be asking out loud!

    • syd Says:

      “Why he doesn’t get treated in Venezuela?”
      Because medical professionals in Venezuela have links to inter-galactic worlds, and as such, can command a space ship to spirit Chavez away. For ever. If I were Chávez’ daughters, I wouldn’t want that for my papi.

      • Caracola Says:

        But he is forgetting that the empire and the evil CIA are targeting their HAARP thing to the caribbean! He is not safe there either!

        • NicaCat56 Says:

          Oh, too rich! Also, Dr. Who might get involved, and “who” knows how THAT might turn out! This brings to mind, also, the program called “Lost In Space”: “Danger, Will Robinson”. This could also be “Mr. Danger, Mision Robinson”.

        • HalfEmpty Says:

          No way, you forget that the HAARP Thing can actually cure as well as cause cancer, it also responsible for rain/draught and cold/hot we’ve been seeing.

  16. Glenn Says:

    Kepler it’s funny how trivial pursuits get put aside when you very well might be dying. Sad but true, yet I feel no sadness for Hugo.

  17. Kepler Says:

    Guys, some months ago I think – I would say I am 100 sure- I saw a twitter account from Elías Jaua and it was even one of the few Hugo was following and now I don’t see that anymore, just a couple of fakes.

    Food for thought.

  18. Bill near Slidell Says:

    He could be going to Cuba because it will be easier to hide the severity of his cancer news there. People in other countries are more likely to give details of his condition. I doubt he will see New Years Eve 2013. Hopefully, the next leader will believe in free market economics.

  19. Glenn Says:

    I’m with the theory that Chavez will get the best treatment money can buy without the prying eyes of the free press while Fidel will control what’s said and done. I do not predict any difference in running the country from his last absence. If the chemo is intensive and he loses his hair, he could be out of sight for a very long time.

    • GWEH Says:

      no he will not get the best treatment money can buy…he’s going to C-U-B-A do you realize what this means

      • NicaCat56 Says:

        I don’t like it: I LOVE it! Bon voyage, Thugo!!! Y que no vuelvas jamas a pisar la tierra venezolana!!!

  20. Susan Says:

    In the US there is a popular country song called “I pray for You “. The Venesuelan people should learn it. To El Presidente I say ” I pray for you !!”


    • syd Says:

      You should have a brain transplant, Susan.

      • liz Says:

        Syd, de repente ella está rezando por la razón opuesta! jejejeje.

      • syd Says:

        Sí, parece que tienes razón, Liz. Por ahí hay doble sentido. Sorry Susan, brain surgery cancelled. In the meantime, perhaps you can translate the lyrics of the song so the Venezuelan people don’t have to sing in English?

    • HalfEmpty Says:

      El Presidente I say ” I pray for you !!

      More like el Presidente I pray to you with muh tweetery.

  21. Roy Says:

    At least we get another respite from the endless cadenas…

  22. m_astera Says:

    Carrying my clone/body double conspiracy a little further along…..someone remarked the other day that in the family video Hugo was looking more and more like Adan. So, he goes to Cuba; the films that are released show him looking more and more like Adan, until he looks exactly like Adan.

    It might work.

  23. Dave Says:

    As a casual observer there is one thing I don’t understand.
    What does Chavez (or anybody) have such confidence and admiration for Cuba? Which most people would consider a failed state and failed political system?

    • Roy Says:


      His admiration has little to do with Cuba’s political and economic system. Instead, his admiration is for Fidel Castro, a man who managed to stay in power for half a century (or more, depending on how much control you think he still has). If you realize that Chavez’ goal is to remain in power indefinitely, then you can understand why he would select Fidel as his role-model, and identifies with the likes of Gaddafi, Mugabe, et al.

  24. GWEH Says:

    this tells me they have no intentions of relenquishing hold on power via ballot box. Things are going to get ugly. This is where his friends both here and abroad come in.

  25. GWEH Says:

    Cuba is a clear and present danger to U.S. Los gringos no lo ven. Some do but the ones in charge dont

    • NicaCat56 Says:

      GWEH, can you be more precise about what you’re saying? Jodido, no puedo actualizar mi teclado al espanol. Whatever…Please tell me (us) what you’re talking about!!

    • loroferoz Says:

      Sorry. Cuba is NOT a clear and present danger to the U.S. It has not been that since 1962. At least not directly.

      Castro’s Cuba HAS ALWAYS BEEN a clear and present danger to the whole of Latin America. Specially to Venezuela. And we Venezuelans, our society as a whole, basically cheered on the S.O.B.’s proselytizing their fundamentalism in Venezuela.

      You did point that out and were treated as the most recalcitrant fascist in fashionable circles. Romulo Betancourt cared not about being fashionable nor being a nice person, but he was right about Cuba.

      Now that we are colonized and screwed over and back, it’s that we are hearing mainstream (center of left) objections to the Marx’s Prophet Fidel taking over. Almost too little, too late.

  26. syd Says:

    If Chavez has colon cancer, which seems likely, the chemo treatments could get ugly, worse still if they don’t work.

    By going to Cuba, Chavez ensures that he’s far from the prying eyes of the media. And if I were him, I’d want that above all else. Plus the fact that in Cuba, he can pay for the treatment he needs, as delivered by any number of top oncologists, anywhere in the world. That’s another reason why Chavez would want to be far away from media eyes. For his personal health care decisions underscore the hypocrisy that he showers on the poorly managed health care system in Venezuela.

    His speech sounded wooden. Did he even write it?

    • Caracola Says:

      That makes total sense to me.

    • loroferoz Says:

      That’s it, basically. You hit the most probable explanation.

    • Ira Says:

      I agree, but what do you mean by “pay for the treatment he needs?”

      The concept of Hugo having to pay for anything, especially in Cuba, doesn’t match the reality. I think you mean to say “have access to superior treatment,” which I understand.


      Fidel went to Spain for his intestinal surgery, and Hugo has to go to Cuba for his cancer, because no one else will take him who can actually HELP him. (Maybe he can go to Zimbabwe or Libya or Syria or Iran or Nicaragua! Why not, according to his assessment of health care in these countries?)

      I’m waiting for another chapter in this story, where Chavez starts begging the U.S. for his treatment at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York–a JEW hospital, no less–but one with the highest cancer containment rate (not cure) in the entire world.

      The fact is, the man is a selfish, hypocritical scumbag, And I didn’t believe there was a God until God seems to have touched his finger on Stupigo’s colon, and gave him cancer.


      • NicaCat56 Says:

        Oh…wait! Why didn’t Hugo just stay in Venezuela for the wonderful care for which he advocates??? Really??? Where’s the oppo on this one fact? Why isn’t anyone saying anything about this?

  27. Charly Says:

    Well, Cuba, Brazil or Canada? Whatever, good riddance!

  28. liz Says:

    Jsb. in this case he’s justified. He was reading his own letter to congress (National Assembly in our case) asking permission to leave the country for the treatment in Cuba.

    • loroferoz Says:

      It’s not a comment on Hugo Chavez alone… But I heard part of the speech and had style related nausea.

      It’s overloaded! It’s sickly sweet, syrupy, sappy, treacly, cloying!

      But really, we will advance a lot as a nation when we definitely leave behind such florid, or should I said lurid discursive style.

      No wonder Spaniards found Latin American officials indigestible in the past and had to clean their palates with some profanity. If they had to suffer such meringues with every official, and at times even private communication…

      • NicaCat56 Says:

        Dear Fierce Parrot,
        You said, “It’s overloaded! It’s sickly sweet, syrupy, sappy, treacly, cloying!” May I add: DISGUSTING!!!! I mean, jeez, Louise: I wanted to throw up after just two (2!) seconds of whatever he was saying!!!! Blech!! Good riddance, I say. I hope he gets the treatment he’s decided to receive (his choice, remember; not ours).

      • Loro…

        I will not listen to the speech, but it is interesting that you mention something like that. I have been living out of Venezuela since 1999. After so many years, what bothers me the most when I see how venezuelans behave is _precisely_ that. It’s like most venezuelans live (and are proud to live) in a telenovela.

        I guess I already became accustomed to US-american and german straight-forwardness.

        • loroferoz Says:

          The Spanish are pretty straightforward, even if at times they sound rude (or profane) to Latin Americans.

  29. Jsb Says:

    And again he reads a prepared text? The most loquacious man in politics is reading from a folder?

  30. liz Says:

    Chávez is a prisoner of Fidel. I really don’t know if he’s got a man crush on the old man or is under a Babalao spell… pero ya la varilla da pena ajena. Meanwhile, the country is in shambles and things are getting worse by the minute.

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