The evolution of Hugo Chavez’ health via photographs

July 16, 2011

When I first wrote on May 29th. that Chaves did not really have a knee problem, I did this, because someone who has always provided me with good information called me to tell me he had something worse, without being specific. This person said that a few people knew about it, but nobody dared say anything, so I wrote a somewhat sarcastic post on the subject. Little did I know how fast things would move in the next month…

But we still don’t know what Chavez has and when was it that they realized he was sick. To attempt to shed some light on this, I have gone back and looked at Chavez’s pictures using one of his rags as the main source (Correo del Orinoco, Eva’s rag) and have added some more pics chronologically, including pictures from the videos to get an idea of the evolution of Chavez’ face and body until today.

One can clearly see the evolution in his weight and face, but it is not always clear, in fact, I think some picrures puported to be from the day before, were older. But I will let you be the judge.

However, I should note a funny statistic. In January, Chavze was on the cover of that newspaper, 16 times, He was only on it 5 times in February, then it jumps to 13 in March, but only 7 in Abril (Easter week?), dropping to 7 in May, 9 in June (seven in the fist nine days) and 10 so far in July. The scant coverage in February and April is suspicious, but he still looked healthy. Recall Alo Presidente was cancelled half the time between January 1st and April 30th.

Chavez was on the news in early May until May 9th. , then he disappears and reappears with a crutch and the knee story. Note that the crutch disappear once he went to Cuba.

First, let’s set a benchmark, Chavez on Jan. 1st, 24th., 28th. and May 1st, all of which seem to be before they knew what he had.

Note in particular how huge he is on the third picture taken on Apr. 28th.

Then the “knee” problem begins and below you see two pictures, one in an appearance that I can’t pin down the exact date for (on the left), in which he showed up dressed in black and with a crutch. Then, on May 23d. he appeared in the “Balcon del Pueblo” (picture on the right) with a crutch. My take is that he had had a first “procedure” by then in Venezuela, maybe just a biopsy or radiation, but he already looks thinner than above, but it is not clear cut.

Then he shows up on June 1st. (Picture form the day before, below on the left) wearing the blue and white track suit and two days later (picture on the right below) he meets with Lula. He looks better, no crutch by then, as he gets ready to go to Ecuador, Brasil and Cuba:

The next picture is on June 9th. in Brazil (left picture below) and the next one arriving in Cuba (right picture below), meeting Raul Castro, on the night of June 9th. to 10th. according to my estimates:

Chavez then really disappears and we see him again in a picture in Gramma published on June 19th. on the right below. He seems thinner and we were shown a video of unspecified date (picture on the right below and the next frame too), where you can see him thinner, particularly his body:

In the picture below, from one of the videos, he is with his daughter and looks thin (on the left). Then, we do not hear from Chavez again for ten days, on June 28th. , when he gives a speech (below on the right), which he read and he was clearly wearing make up.

My suspicion is that the first video we saw was before the second operation, the change is huge between the two pictures above. They made the first video, Chavez got worse and they decided to show it to calm things down, but at the time he was really at his lowest point. The moment he recovered he gave the speech. The only thing that contradicts this is the date of the newspaper, but you all can see the difference.

We then don’t see him for six days, when he arrived in Venezuela and was clearly not as thin, but looked weak (picture on the left below).

The next picture supposedly was taken on July 6th., but my feeling is that it came from the early days in June, before the operations.

On July 10th. we were shown videos or pictures of Chavez watching the soccer game (below on the left) and with his father and mother (below on the right). Again looking better.

The next two pictures are from July 14th and 15th.

Below are the pictures yesterday on Friday July 15th. requesting permission to leave and today where he looks better, but the big shirt hides how much weight he has lost if you compare with the first four pictures above.

From these, it is my take that they did something to him in Caracas before he left for Ecuador, Brazil and Cuba, around May 9th. They hid this behind his supposed “knee” problem, but knew he had to go elsewhere and left for Cuba, via the other two countries to hide the problem. In Cuba, he underwent two operations. The pictures with the Castro brothers i after the first one and then the videos and his first are after the second one. He has said that he was in intensive care, clearly this was after the second operation, between the 19th. and the 29th.

The mystery is why two operations and why intensive care after the second one. Either he got an infection after the first one, or they found during the first procedure much more than they could deal with without being prepared for it.

What do you think?

68 Responses to “The evolution of Hugo Chavez’ health via photographs”

  1. jorge Says:

    he and his team are profoundly worried about his health. he came to a hospital in caracas were only authorized cuban personnel was in charge of his is pretty funny to see him bouncing a baseball with diplomatic officials and talkig about baseball in a press conference in miraflores, and telling a news correspondent if he wanted white blood cells that he could give him if he wanted but not the case for red blood cells

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  4. […] July 16th. I showed the evolution of Hugo Chavez’ physical appearance during the time before and after his cancer was revealed. In this post, I show the evolution since […]

  5. syd Says:

    preparing the way for the revelation of Chávez’ true cancer profile? one that is more easily digested (so to speak) by the pueblo?

    Just wondering.

    To this I’d also add that Chávez’ ballooning weight, earlier this year, might have had something to do with intestinal/colon blockage by the tumor that reportedly was found in the pelvic area. If that zone of discovery is to be believed.

    I say all this after discussing with a friend of mine, the colon cancer of her father. He had developed a tumor that perforated the wall of the colon and blocked the elimnation channel. He also didn’t make it, not that there is a relationship between his cancer and Chávez ‘.

  6. extorres Says:

    Maybe I’m late to this, but Bolivar died from treatment for colon infection?


  7. JoseR Says:

    Chemo today does not always mean hair loss. However, if Chavez loses his hair, expect complete secrecy and no photos. A toupee will likely be imported for Chavez to wear if necessary.

  8. Ty Says:

    I think there will be a much more drastic difference between now and after the Chemo.

  9. firepigette Says:

    Something worthwhile( productive) to discuss.

    Sorry it’s in Spanish

    • m_astera Says:


      Whether talking about a democracy, a representative democracy, or a republic, the root of the problem remains the same: How to persuade the voters to elect representatives based on something other than the personal benefits the candidates promise to those who vote for them.

      This is the present state of affairs in all “free” electoral systems, not only Venezuela. Candidates with vision and wisdom go nowhere, because long-term vision and wisdom are not what is being sold by the media in 30 second sound bites. What is sold is either protection from largely imaginary enemies or largesse from the state treasury.

      On another tack, I don’t think that the MUD is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome as the writer at frentepatriotico suggests, as much as they are suffering from a complete lack of vision.

      I think it might be good to ask a few questions starting with “what sort of country would most Venezuelan people really like to live in?”

      • firepigette Says:

        M Astera,

        All of those questions you have are quite valid and important…but the one thing I think we have to confront first is the basic problem the opposition has in winning elections and forming a united front and I don’t think this has as much to do with ideologies as some might think.The attitude of working together in a united front has to be there in order to even discuss the different plans.

        I don’t think all of the oppo- Chavez apologists are coming from this angle but I think quite a few are.

        I remember after 9/11 some of my more psychologically fearful friends immediately started to blame the victims more than the perpetrators.Not that they would identify consciously with that stance, because they didn’t.It is just that there was this general emphasis on blaming the victim, which on a sliding scale in terms of the degree of Stolkhomness, might had been relatively mild but still very much there.You see this also quite often in rape cases.

        In Venezuela, there are slews of people( you see them on some of these blogs) who bend over backwards to give Chavez the benefit of the doubt but rarely cut that kind of slack for the opposition.How many times have I seen some say” Chavez is bad but the opposition is even worse” With that attitude nothing is possible for us.

        Another aspect of it , so common: you will notice how people go out of their way to criticize those who wish for Chavez to die.Quite honestly I haven’t wished it, but I think if I did it would be quite natural.The only reason I do not is because I believe more in seeing what develops and working with that.

        Many people have the habit of being more critical of the opposition than of Chavismo.It is as though :

        1. they are afraid of looking too biased( fear)
        2. they are afraid of making Chavez angry( fear)
        3. they buy into the the meme like idea in Venezuela that passivism is on a higher plane of spirituality than aggression and want to look good in other people’s eyes.( fear)
        4. they accept the bs that the bought off part of the opposition feeds them, that there is relatively little fraud in elections.Notice how many oppos only speak of fraud in terms how much they can actually steal at the table?Why do people even consider Chavez an honest and viable candidate to begin with? ( extreme passivity)

        I could go on but don’t want to make this one comment any longer than it is.
        These are some of the things that keep the opposition from uniting and putting up a strong fight.It is a kind of strategy where extreme passivity, and masochistic fear replace the need to take a strong stance.

        ” If I don’t make too many waves, Chavez might not get me.Maybe I can fool him and he won’t notice I don’t like him” or “If I am a good little girl or good lil boy and don’t show any aggression to the aggressor,maybe I can convince others I am good and will be saved:)”

        I suppose this is normal in a country where cuadillos usually rule.

      • m_astera Says:

        All good points, FP. Especially blaming the victims; I hadn’t looked at that angle. The opposition has been raped and abused, and now they are being blamed for letting it happen.

        Fear seems to be the main motivator right now: the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.

        Perhaps those who do have a worthwhile vision have already left the country.

        It’s a shame that politics is such a filthy business that most honest, intelligent, caring people wouldn’t dream of getting involved in it, and if they did they wouldn’t stand much of a chance against the professional liars.

        I still think it would be worthwhile to go out in the street and ask a few hundred people what sort of country they would like to live in. Also ask them what sort of life and lifestyle they would like to have. If the overwhelming answer is that people want a condo in Miami with a swimming pool, a BMW, a Hummer and servants to wait on them while they spend their days spending money, then it’s pretty much hopeless.

        • firepigette Says:

          M Astera,

          I am in frequent contact with family in Belarus.From what I gather the only thing they want or worry about is money.The fact that they would rather have a great loss of freedom ( of speech,of types of living space, of travel, or internet) never mattered that much to them; so one could easily say they got what they deserved.I hope that wouldn’t happen yet in Venezuela.

          In the case of Venezuelans, I think we value freedom in many ways- the problem is that many are not educated enough to envision how they would feel in a country something like Belarus.I am sure most will mention money as primary motivator, but I am sure than in their hearts, freedom is high on the list.Not only freedom ,but respect, which is something Lukachenko doesn’t give.I think Chavez also won because he promised to honor the criollo heritage.His honor is totally false but he gives off that image.

  10. Dillis Says:

    Arco3, Chavez doesn’t give anyone here football. It has nothing to do with him. It is one thing he can’t touch as per the FIFA rules.

    • Andres F Says:

      Chavez could do a lot to hurt FVF, but it’s not in his best interest to do so. FIFA could ban FVF, but they can’t keep them from leaving FIFA if they chose to do so.

  11. firepigette Says:

    I am not interested in all this guesswork : it looks like the first cousin of boring gossip to me.

    What I think would be interesting is to discuss the possibilities inherent in the new fluid situation regarding the opposition, its strange reactions to events, the fact that the opposition is in some ways supporting Chavez,and what to do about that and the need to come up with a unified plan.

    • syd Says:

      funny how you hate guess work as the first cousin of boring gossip, FP. How is that any different to the recurring pop psychology theories you so love to test on these boards with no evidence of same?

      Jus’ wonderin’

      • firepigette Says:

        Syd, You wouldn’t know pop psychology from a hole in the head.Lol….but whatever keeps you entertained 🙂

        Use a little logic Syd and less emotion.The fact that I don’t deem to prove anything to someone who is here for entertainment, does not mean that I have no proof, and besides I was referring more to the theme, and less to the factor of proof.

        On these blogs nobody can prove anything, but we could discuss something worthwhile.

    • syd Says:

      FP, I’ll leave the moderation of the content of these posts and their comments to the blog owners, rather than to an untrained (by her own admission), unlicensed psychologist, who needs to apply her interest in a pseudo science to most behaviours — and indirectly to her own! LOL

      If Miguel wants to enjoy a little conjecture, once in a while, evidently shared by many, what’s your hang-up? Why not allow it? We’ve all been patient enough with your umpteen flights of fancy for such a very long time.

      But there’s an even simpler solution: if all this guesswork annoys you so, just don’t read it and move on.

  12. Arco3 Says:

    Your country is on fire but you got something to smile about! Roman empire gave the people bread and games to shut them up. Chavez gives you beer and football, look at all the happy people in the streets today. Wake up, man!

    • Andres F Says:

      “football” was there before the emperor, and most “footballers” don’t like the emperor, so I would say they are pretty awake.

  13. Dillis Says:

    At last Venezuela has something to smile about tonight after the fantastic victory agaisnt Chile to reach the Copa America semi finals. Go Vinotinto!

  14. Flavio NY Says:

    @island canuck

    Gezz, that is probably one of the worst news Ive heard in a long time…

  15. Gerry Says:

    I think Venezuela is in more trouble than Chavez.
    How many months after the (unannounced and concealed in Havana) death of Chavez (maybe even before his death) do you think Cuba can use his electronic signature to enact laws, edicts, suggestions of the president etc., in Venezuela.
    I suspect long enough for the final big time rape.
    Beware of Cubans offering first world medical and surgical services.
    Fidel must be hoping!
    Taking the electronic signature of the “head of state” to Cuba is treason. It is an authorization to the Cuban government to be the government of Venezuela with the decree law in place, ceding the sovereignty of a democratic republic.

    • loroferoz Says:

      The truth will come out much sooner than Fidel will like to think.

      Chavez is so bad at delegating that he cannot get Jaua to fill in for him.

      News will start filtering. Question (I hope, hard) will be asked by the opposition…

      How long do you think they have before both ambitious chavistas, and officials who don’t like Cubans at all, start taking independent action, seeing that the Leader keeps not showing up?

  16. George Best Says:

    Hi that is affirmative – THAT is what they use in developed countries…

    The end is around the corner – why should he be an exception… and so
    many GOOD people have died of the same ?

  17. island canuck Says:

    The Cubans control all the information in the main registry of Venezuelans including the control to add or delete whomever they want.

  18. moctavio Says:

    This is not truly “new” the Cubans have been handling this stuff and the proposal was around, another step in the recolonization of Venezuela, this time by a crazy Gallego.

  19. anon Says:

    Miguel, it would be interesting to hear what you think about Chávez’s brand new “digital signature” card, which entitles the holder to rule Venezuela ad libitum. Maybe it’s high time Venezuelans got together to found a modern equivalent to the “Cuerpo Conservador de los Derechos de Don Fernando VII” that ended in the declaration of independence 200 years ago.

  20. moctavio Says:

    I don’t buy the conspiracy theory at all, look at the pictures. Moreover, it is clear that they tried to hide it, but it became difficult to do, as the severity of the case became obvious. In fact, then he tried to show up, only to be shut down by reality. It makes little sense. For example, the day he called the PSUV Board, they all tweeted happily in unison, trying to put in a good face on the illness, but then they gave a press conference with long faces. The only thing missing ws them wearing black.

    In fact, I am surprised that the alternative conspiracy theory has not flourished: Did someone induce it?

    I think he is in real trouble.

  21. Roberto Says:

    I for many am sceptic about this sudden, unconfirmed and unwitnessed sickness. Let’s not forget who this guy is and what he’s capable of, and much more considering his dive in electoral standing and the many problems he’s confronted with. Has anybody thought the weight loss and disapears were due to a lipo job and the rest is all makeup? Who knows if his friend O. Stone is helping with the script?

  22. Juan Cristóbal Nagel Says:

    So is it true that he has a little bag holding The Devil’s Excrement?

  23. GWEH Says:

    George, would the name be Therac-25 by any chance?

  24. moctavio Says:

    He is getting chemo, not radio

  25. George Best Says:

    HI – I was told today – that they use in Cuba still the old cobalt therapy because of lack of the latest apparatus instead of the newer highly ionizing sistem which is precise and right on the spot – used a lot for brain tumors…

    The Cobalt radiation very few have survived on the long run !

  26. Kepler Says:

    Can you expand on 5th? How?

    • loroferoz Says:

      I am not sure how. But the message has to be got across to Venezuelans. Socialism is a thing of ages past. The tyrant of Cuba is a fossil and Cuba is a showcase of a terrible (cold-war) past. Hugo Chavez & company are perverted paleontology geeks rather than actual options to lead Venezuela into the future…

      The opposition can’t simply afford to think that’s just winning the election. It’s about destroying the cohesion of the movement called chavismo. It’s about making Hugo Chavez irrelevant to Venezuelan politics sooner or later.

      I only gather that our country is like an abused person. If that person does not make their abusive partner past history sooner or later they return to the abuser or someone very similar.

      • loroferoz Says:

        Plus, he is a sick man, suffering from the similar illnesses, spiritual and physical to those of his mentor…

        or rather, the absolutist King of Cuba, of which he is a mere consort.

  27. loroferoz Says:

    This affair amazes me. I did not think Venezuela could sink so much so fast:

    The first amazing thing is that we have to engage in Mirafloresology, as Jsb points deftly, to know what the devil is wrong with the man.

    The second amazing thing is all the obfuscation permeating this affair through. Who can buy the tall tale of the casual finding of the abscess and then the cancer when he was in Cuba? The knee surgery?

    The third amazing thing is the insistence that he can govern (rather rule) from abroad while being seriously ill.

    The fourth and most amazing thing is that our country must hang on the fate of this incompetent and mendacious man. It should not. Simply it should not.

    The fifth amazing thing is that the opposition should be very vigorously campaigning for Venezuela to leave Chavez behind forever, whatever his health might be. Particularly if he is ill! And it is not. There’s no possibility to have a country until we knock sense into Venezuelans that this was a wasted dozen of years and that Chavez should be past history.

  28. island canuck Says:

    Hey Moose – cut out the jokes! LOL!

  29. Moose Says:

    I’ve never seen explained why Hugo leaves the country for medical care.

    Hasn’t he been building a model health care system for all Venezuelans?

  30. […] The Devil’s Excrement […]

  31. Roger Says:

    Keep in mind that Chavez often wears bullet proof vests and clothing. So its hard to tell what is going on with his body shape. So of the pictures taken in safe places show a much thinner body.

  32. LD Says:

    I think the only sure thing is, they are not telling the truth…
    How probably is that he really had had a knee-problem? And, as you pointed out, stop talking? The pictures as he go to the short trip were telling a lot more…
    If the history is like Chávez tell, I doubt he has good physicians around him or he had ignored them, maybe… not impossible…

    The second operation take place (said Chávez) the 20.July, so after the pictures and video with Fidel.

    Has Chávez used contact lenses? This could be the reason why he has then changed to normal lenses, a result of chemotherapy

    So he *was* already in chemotherapy… Look at this picture too:ón-internacional/chavez-delega-poderes-por-primera-vez-en-doce-anos.html

    Notwithstanding how bad a survival rate is, he could be the one who stay alive for 20 years or die monday morning, never forget it, these are statistical data, they tell a range of possibilities, nothing more than that.

  33. GeorgeS Says:

    If he had something with a high probability of being cured, he would tell the “people” what it was so they feel sorry for him and he gets sympathy. By hiding the true nature of his illness he is playing the groups that want to take over once he is gone, which is now all that is important: Who takes over after Hugo. Only those that understand what he has will play the cards right.

  34. GWEH Says:

    I think they are going to go heavy on the chemo meaning we will not see him again after the second treatment.

  35. moctavio Says:

    The numbers don’ jive, Stage III with Metastasis has a much lower survival rate, more like 20% in 5 years. The other details are consistent.

  36. GWEH Says:

    the article above very good. Infection common in Cuban and Venezuelan OR’s… he has colorectal cancer. I don’t buy the survival rate. He’s going for radiation and chemo… 1 year survival rate

  37. GWEH Says:

    he said he was 220 lbs and is now 190 lbs.

  38. island canuck Says:

    Luis Felipe Colina: Chávez sufre cáncer de colon con metástasis; chances de sobrevivencia del 65% en 5 años

    Says also that the cancer is in his rectum & anus and will need at least 6 months of chemo.

  39. Kepler Says:

    I was actually very surprised to see those shadows under his eyes in the last days. Guys: try to imagine him without glasses, the shadows would look more remarkable.

    i heard from some doctors about the infection thing during an operation.

    Look at this picture in Spiegel, his eyes:,1518,774798,00.html

  40. syd Says:

    I think a close up on the eyes would reveal a more telling story, even before Jan 1st.

  41. Cristina Says:

    About the number of surgeries, with cancer you never know. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer a year ago and was supposed to have two surgeries. Instead she had six.

  42. Cristina Says:

    My guess is he started losing weight because of the tumours and then lost a lot more with the surgeries. He will certainly lose a lot more weight with the chemo.

  43. CarlosElio Says:

    Miguel, unintentionally your typo is right on the money. The second sentence of the second paragraph reads “To attempt to shed dome light” and I think what we see in your pictorial chronology is a dying man. I once was in Cologne, by the Dome looking at all those statues of long dead men carved on the façade of that old cathedral. It was early evening and the light reflected by the Dome made the view more eerily.
    So, I think it is proper to say that your attempts were successful beyond your intentions. To put it in their own language, this man smells like formaldehyde.

  44. bruni Says:

    I think his eyes are swollen and puffy in the first pictures. He might have been taking cortisone .

    I also find it strange that all of a sudden he appears with glasses. Why? Has he evern had glasses before?

    • syd Says:

      Bruni, I’ve seen Ch. wear reading glasses on the odd Aló Presi clips that I’ve watched.It’s not often, but he does wear them. I figure it’s just a matter of natural presbyopia, after 40 (or before, if he wears contact lenses).

  45. Jsb Says:


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