Hugo Chavez DEAD? Hugo Chavez absence sparks conspiracy
Rob Houglum. We the People Saturday, April 21, 2012
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been out of the way for a week, speaking only through Twitter messages and written statements while undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba.
The absence of any appearances on television has Venezuelans wondering about what his unusual silence might say about his struggle with cancer, and whether Chavez might be coping with an especially tough segment of radiation treatment.
More than two dozen messages have shown up on Chavez's Twitter account since he left for Cuba on April 14. He has cheered on advocates with slogans such as "Let's continue building socialism!" In others, he has praised his army chiefs, told funding for local regimes and promised to survive and win re-election in October.
But he has infrequently discussed his cancer treatment.
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello repeated on Friday that Chavez is expected to return to Venezuela shortly.
"God ready, the week after next he will be here again with us once he has finished the treatment," Cabello said in a televised speech. He insisted that even when Chavez is away in Cuba, "he leads just the same as if he were here in Venezuela."
"The commander's presence here isn't required, because just the same he is the commander of the revolution," Cabello said.
But even some of Chavez's fans have been asserting latterly that they wonder what's happening with his healthfulness.
"It makes me sad, but my Comandante must not be as well as they say," said Guillermo Suarez, a street seller selling sunglasses. "It's already been many days that we haven't seen him, heard him."
Chavez, who has been president since 1999, has always been a unceasing presence on Venezuelan television, regularly addressing the country for one or two hours most days as well as his marathon Sunday programme "Hello, President." But latterly there were no episodes of "Hello, President," and Chavez said he predicted his final rounds of radiation treatment, which started last month, to be coarse.
Chavez hasn't debated details of the radiation treatments, pronouncing they have diminished his strength but have been going well. Last weekend, he chose not to attend the Peak of the Americas in Colombia, the sort of high-profile world event where he would formerly have taken center stage. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro disclosed the decision on Chavez's behalf, saying he was skipping the peak on the guidance of his doctors.
Chavez started radiation therapy in Cuba in late March after having an operation in February that removed a second cancer from his pelvic region. The 1st was taken out last June. He has kept secret some details of his illness, including the kind of cancer and the particular situation of the growths.
Doctors say common side effects of radiation therapy include fatigue and damage to areas exposed to the radiation beams alongside queasiness and dysentery in cases such as Chavez's in which the pelvic area is handled.
Chavez also was away in Havana frequently last year while undergoing chemical treatment after the first surgery.
During prior visits to Cuba, Chavez has intermittently appeared on television, either in phone calls or appearances with his aides or girls. He has given the appearance of continuing to work and keeping abreast of affairs at home.
Before his last trip to Cuba, Chavez claimed he planned to keep away longer to allow for his last two rounds of radiation treatment, and obtained approval from lawmakers to leave the country for more than 5 days as needed by the constitution.
During the past week, his Twitter messages have been read out loud by his Cabinet ministers at broadcasted events. At one event Friday, Chavez's supporters answered with roars of "Onward, Comandante!"
Without Chavez on the air, state television has instead shown a salsa concert, documentaries and a Mass. Such programs and newscasts are interspersed with a short segment showing a good Chavez embracing kids in slow-mo against a background of folk music.
Pro-Chavez lawmaker Dario Vivas dismissed concerns about Chavez keeping a less prominent profile, announcing the president remains totally in charge and is restoring his condition.
"The same people who whinge that he talks a lot are those who get panicked when they do not hear him," Vivas recounted Fri. outside an event at the National Assembly.
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Tags: Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, cancer, radiation.