I repeat this is just a rumor, reminiscent of the Fidel Castro is dead rumors of 2007, which I had so much fun covering as a novice blogger – (and which, hopefully I don’t have to tell you, turned out to be utterly untrue.)
Supposedly, the rumor goes, he went to Cuba for surgery, and died there.
I hear this from a source too, but he only hears it from his sources, and they’re not always right (he tells me).
Now Public.com reports:
One report says that Chavez is in a “critical state of health.”
A Spanish-language report quotes Venezuelan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Temir Porras as saying that Chavez is “recuperating well.”
Chavez arrived in Cuba on June 8. Two days later, he was treated for a “”pelvic abscess.” There is also speculation that Chavez may be suffering from prostate cancer.
Chavez hasn’t been heard from for several days, adding to speculation that the normally talkative leader may be in poor health.
On June 25, Hugo Chavez and his handlers sent several messages via his Twitter account, perhaps to dispel all the rumors about his health.
The Real Cuba translated an article from El Nuevo Herald regarding some new information reportedly provided by U.S. intelligence sources:
US intelligence sources: Hugo Chávez is undergoing a “critical clinical condition”
June 24 – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is currently at a hospital in Havana, is undergoing a “critical clinical condition,” several U.S. intelligence sources said on Friday.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they could not confirm reports that the Venezuelan president is being treated for cancer of the prostate, which is the rumor that is currently being heard with increasing frequency in Venezuela’s high places.
But the health of the Venezuelan president, who underwent surgery two weeks ago in Havana, “is in a critical state, not grave, but critical, complicated,” said one of the sources, whose identity can not be revealed due to the sensitive location where he is.
Read the rest at Babalu.
If Obama orders flags at half-staff tomorrow, we’ll know.
Fox News Latino: Report: Hugo Chávez in Critical Condition In Cuban Hospital
Jun 17: Hugo Chávez poses for a photo with Fidel and Raul Castro from his hospital room in Cuba.
Fausta on the 24th:Does Hugo Chavez have prostate cancer?
The chronology is
- Chavez had surgery in Venezuela
- Following the surgery, he left Venezuela and made stops in Brazil and Ecuador
- He then flew to Cuba, where he was operated for a pelvic abscess on June 10
- Chavez was interviewed by phone for Telesur on June 12
- On Friday June 17, Fidel and Raul Castro dropped by Chavez’s hospital room for a photo-op
- On June 21, Adan Chavez, Hugo’s brother, said that the president would return to Venezuela by July 4
For what it’s worth…
Here’s a very awkward Google translation of his post on Chavez:
URGENT: THE ALLEGED CONFIDENTIAL HUGO CHAVEZ’S DISEASE (As I arrived)
The much heralded knee surgery was not so. It was a radical prostate removal. Vanity (manliness) of Acts led them to invent what the knee.
Biopsy result was bad post-op. We planned to travel to Cuba in CEMIC PET scan (Caracas wanted to avoid transfer to one of two private schools that are operating PET scans) to determine whether there were metastases.
To distract the attention of the disease, and against the advice of doctors, whirlwind trip was scheduled to Quito and Brasilia.
Coming to Cuba’s fever went up and took him straight to CEMIC. Upon arrival found a severe postoperative infection groin.
A few days after the infection is controlled, but the PET scan results are very encouraging to be abnormal cell activity in bone.
Determined to be treated with radiation therapy and daily sessions are set for 25 days, rest 10 days and 25 sessions.
There are many medical concerns for the subject bone and are still undecided how to treat it. Specialists from Germany, Russia and Spain have visited CEMIC.
There is much discussion about how to announce this, but are preparing contingency. Hair loss can not be overcome in the case of Chavez in a wig and his mood has been terrible, is fatalistic and believe that this is what “made” anyone. Not recommended to take your medication for depression while on radiotherapy.
There are opposing views on the secret part of the family says that people are not stupid “and know that something is very wrong, the other part of the family believes that if you know this is much more severe or the president may be unable for months there would be a war within the Chavez that no member of the family survive.
June 23, Venezuela News and Views (linked by Fausta) tells the same story from a different source: Chavez croaking? Well, maybe…..
In short, Chavez would be suffering from a prostate cancer that has metastasized.
This already would explain several things: why Chavez never remarried; why he occasionally seems to get all bloated; why his ample clothing when he does an extended cadena as it could hide adult diapers better; why the mystery around the whole thing as prostate surgery for a macho man is tantamount to recognize that he is not that macho anymore.
Since the post of Gustavo is in Spanish, follows my interpretation of his text in English.
Apparently the “knee” problem was a way to hide the prostate surgery which today can be dealt well enough in a couple of weeks. But if we are to believe Gustavo the post biopsy was not encouraging and they decided to do some advanced body scans which in Venezuela can only be done in a couple of private clinics. Not only Chavez entourage would not trust the discretion of private clinics but it would have been also an admission that the “socialist” care was not as performing as the “capitalist” care since the regime had not been able to match the equipment of the private sector for “el pueblo“. Thus the trip to Cuba. One caveat here: where would have Chavez got prostate surgery in full discretion? Has he set an O.R. inside Miraflores or Fuerte Tiuna?
Before, for show, Chavez stopped in Brazil and Ecuador and that must have been a mistake because he got a post op infection. And also some people found him walking strangely well for someone with an alleged serious knee injury. Arriving in Cuba he got feverish soon and they had to drain the abscess. That would have been the real “emergency” part. In a way that was a convenient excuse to justify Chavez stay while the real stuff was being done, namely the body scans.
He seems to have recovered well enough form his infection but apparently the scans were not good and they decided to start radiotherapy. Another caveat: why not chemotherapy? The more so that he has metastasized. A explanation is that under chemo he would have had to resign temporarily since you might go bonkers during the treatment. Chavez cannot go for an interim prez to preserve his tough image of caudillo. Whatever it is, the lone photo of him in Havana shows him rather gaunt and leaning on both Castro brothers. Some people said it reeked of Photoshop but then again… it matches the symptoms.
According to Gustavo’s source, the radio therapy will take 25 days twice, with a ten days rest, which explains quite well how they keep postponing the return announcement. In fact they are trying to postpone the traditional July 5th parade to the eight which pretty much would fall in between two treatments, maybe allowing Chavez to set foot in Venezuela for a couple of days. After all if you travel in a plane with a medical bed incorporated, well, you can manage the round trip with a minimum of damage.
Linked by Verum Serum, thanks!