Girish Gupta

HOME

PHOTOS

VENEZUELA ECON

ONLINE

Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
LinkedIn
AngelList
Keybase
GitHub
IFTTT

BY COUNTRY

Afghanistan
Brazil
Colombia
Cuba
Ecuador
Egypt
Guyana
Iraq
Jordan
Lebanon
Mexico
United Kingdom
Venezuela

BY MEDIUM

Text
Photo
Radio
TV/Video

BY PUBLISHER

Al Jazeera
BBC
BuzzFeed
CBC
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Daily Mail
Data Driven Journalism (EJC)
Datum
Ecologist
Economist Intelligence Unit
Emerging Markets
Financial Times
Foreign Policy
France 24
Fusion
GlobalPost
Guardian
Independent
La Prensa (Panama)
LatinFinance
Mancunion
Monocle
National (Abu Dhabi)
New Internationalist
New Statesman
New York Times
New Yorker
NPR
PBS
PRI
Radio France Internationale
Reuters
RTE
Sky News
Sun
Sunday Times
Telegraph
TIME
Times of London
USA Today
Vice
WLRN

ABOUT

About
CV
Contact (PGP Key)


Venezuela awaits Chavez's return from operation in Cuba
Mar. 1, 2012 — Caracas, Venezuela

Published by GlobalPost

After leaving Caracas in an open-top motorcade and proclaiming that he recently dreamed Jesus had told him it wasn’t yet time to die, President Hugo Chavez’s no-doubt jubilant return from cancer treatment in Cuba is being eagerly awaited in Venezuela.

Chavez made his first public remarks on Thursday after an operation to remove a possibly cancerous growth, the Associated Press reports.

"I am doing well. Since the day before yesterday I am walking, roaming the hallways. I am on a good diet," Chavez said, the AP reported, citing a televised phone conversation from Havana. "Right now I'm preparing for the midday walk and later some pumpkin soup ... This morning a nice yogurt."

Of course, Venezuela has been here before. Last June, the maverick leader appeared on television, more solemn than ever, to announce to the world that he was suffering from cancer days before arriving back to Miraflores presidential palace in a blaze of glory. Just months later, he announced that he was “free” of his illness.

Then he got biblical.

“I am more and more Christian,” he said at the time. “Socialism is the way of Christ.”

Read more: Tough fight ahead for Venezuela's opposition

That religious echo is a leitmotif through the current saga. “I dreamt a while ago of Christ who came and said ‘Chavez, rise, it is not time to die, it’s time to live,’” the president said last Thursday, before belting out folk tunes with supporters during more than five hours live on state television. The following day, his vehicle to Caracas’ Maiquetia international airport was plastered with an image of Christ.

Behind the gung-ho image portrayed by the paratrooper-turned-president, however, is a sense of fear that has not been seen before during his 13 years in power. “I’m not going to be able to continue with the same rhythm,” he said before he left for Cuba. “I’m a human being. I’m not immortal.”

And then the crunch: “Independent of my personal destiny, this revolution already has its own momentum and will not be stopped by anybody or anything.” For the first time during his tenure, Chavez spoke of a future for his Bolivarian Revolution of which he was not a part.

Chavez has molded his government in his own image over the last decade. Supporters don’t have an affinity with his United Socialist Party of Venezuela, (PSUV) but rather the man himself. They wear T-shirts emblazoned with his face rather than the party symbol. Indeed, he is the de-facto symbol, not only of the party but of the Venezuelan government and state.

Analysts have drawn out a few names for the contender should Chavez be unable to continue in power. National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello is a faithful ally of Chavez and indeed has his own more personal battle with Henrique Capriles Radonski, the opposition leader who will take on Chavez in October’s presidential election.

More from Venezuela: Armed children for Chavez?

Cabello, a former army officer, lost the governorship of Miranda, Venezuela’s second most populous state, to Capriles in 2008 in a major upset for Chavez.

There is Vice President Elias Jaua, who is constitutionally charged with filling in for Chavez. Jaua has said there is no need for anyone to step up to the plate, as the president is with the “full faculties to be in charge of the government.” He is often seen at Chavez’s side, as is Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro. The two represent the civilian wing of the government while Cabello is closer to the military.

If the PSUV is really keen to emulate Cuba’s Fidel and Raul Castro, the job could go to Chavez’s elder brother Adan, whom Hugo jokingly once referred to as the “Marxist in the family.”

However, many analysts say that it doesn’t matter who takes over. “There is no Chavismo without Chavez,” said Boris Nomura of investment bank Nomura in New York. “If Chavez doesn't run, or if Chavez is running in a diminished state and he cannot campaign 24/7, he's going to have a tough time getting re-elected.”

Venezuela political analyst Carlos Romero, based at the Central University of Venezuela, was critical of the speculation: “It does not matter at all!” he said. “The general situation will be worse without Chavez and the factions would fight among each other. All of them would be in power only for a short period of time.”

Chavez claims his treatment this week was a success, proclaiming on Twitter that he was “soaring like the condor.” Authorities in Venezuela have also asked people to ignore the rumors.

That is difficult given the extremely limited information available. Unlike his counterparts in Brazil, Argentina and a number of other Latin American nations who also have suffered from cancer recently, Chavez has failed to reveal any details of what type of cancer he is suffering, which has led to the speculation.

“There’s very little information to work out the histology of the tumor,” said Sunil Daryanani, an oncologist at the Hospital de Clinicas Caracas. “That makes it very difficult to give any prognosis. … We don’t even know what drugs he was given in the way of chemotherapy.”

“I see cancer patients every single day,” Daryanani added. “I’m used to seeing patients deal with these sort of blows and they’re normally very humble and unfortunately I think Chavez is trying to draw a political advantage from all of this.”

When Chavez returned after his treatment last October, he said: “It would be easier for a donkey to pass through the eye of a needle than for the opposition to win the elections.”

Expect more biblical rhetoric over the coming months as Chavez musters all the political advantage he can in order to win October’s presidential election.

Filed from
Caracas, Venezuela






More...

Advisers urge deep discount in Venezuelan cryptocurrency offering
Jan. 16, 2018


Inflationary math
Dec. 12, 2017


Venezuela money supply up 14 percent in one week, fastest rise on record
Dec. 1, 2017


How a defrocked judge became the chief enforcer for Maduro's Venezuela
Nov. 15, 2017


De cómo un juez destituido se convirtió en el principal artífice judicial del presidente de Venezuela
Nov. 15, 2017


The 'Venezuela Econ' app: Harnessing data to understand a spectacular economic meltdown
Nov. 6, 2017


Venezuela's monthly inflation rises to 34 percent: National Assembly
Sept. 7, 2017


Ousted Venezuelan prosecutor says she fears for her life, will keep fighting
Aug. 10, 2017


Venezuela quells attack on military base, two killed
Aug. 6, 2017


Exclusive: Venezuelan vote data casts doubt on turnout at Sunday poll
Aug. 2, 2017


All eyes on Venezuela military after protests, vote
Aug. 1, 2017


U.S. 'sweetheart' of Venezuela sees worrying signs of authoritarianism
Jul. 29, 2017


Venezuela money supply surges 10 percent in one week, fastest in 25 years
Jul. 29, 2017


Exclusive: At least 123 Venezuelan soldiers detained since protests - documents
Jul. 6, 2017


Venezuela hikes minimum wage 50 percent, effectively down 17 percent
Jul. 2, 2017








© Girish Gupta