Aggravated Journalism


Lina Ron died following a Xanax overdose. The rumors that had been circulating to this effect were confirmed for by a doctor on the scene.

Imagine that: an actual Venezuelan journalist actually working a story confirm an actually relevant dato!

I don’t know what’s more surprising: that, or the fact that Ron was taking a pill normally reserved to the panic-stricken.

Kudos to Milagros Socorro for her scoop.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. From Wikipedia article on Alprazolam (trade name Xanax):
    * Death (very rare)
    About 50% of the cases of death involving alprazolam were attributed to combined drug toxicity of alprazolam and another drug, most often cocaine and methadone. Only 1% of such deaths were attributed to alprazolam alone, indicating that alprazolam has a very high therapeutic index and that mortality is extremely rare when alprazolam is the only drug taken.

    • Yikes.

      Now, the question is: what’s gonna happen to the forensic pathologist who OK’d the autopsy? What’s gonna happen to Andrés Izarra, who once again showed he was a liar of the worst kind? My guess is that a big heap of nothing is coming our way.

      She was authentic, alright – authentically high.

      • What does Izarra have to do with this? He only announced the fact that she had died and did not perform what could have been a botched autopsy? The official reason given was cardiac arrest which is not a surprise considering what a heavy smoker Lina Ron was.

        In the end, does it really mat6ter since this comes from Marianna Salazar (take me to the Orchila for an orgy CAP) who has written more lies and rumors about chavismo than most periodistas.

        • Izarra said on Twitter that it was a lie Ron had been taken to a Clínica, private healthcare, instead of Barrio Adentro

          • Guido – how can you be so small minded when someone is dying? What the hell does it matter if Lina was being flown to Mount Sinai Medical center in the US? Oh, I see, if you support the government then you have to use Barrio Adentro or you are a hypocrite and if you go to a private clinic you are somehow admitting that Barrio Adentro is substandard care. Look – people can go where they want for medical treatment and take out what insurance policies they can afford. This is a free system and, as I said in my first comment. Izarra has nothing to do with Lina’s death. Get a life and some erspective on things. Your comments are pathetic and obsessional no to mention completely unethical trying to make score political points from someone’s death.

          • Guido – as I said – you want to score political points from someone’s death. Political necrophilia, my friend, and not very healthy not to mention ethical.

  2. Also from Wikipedia: “Although unusual, if the following paradoxical reactions occur, the prescribing physician or other healthcare professional should be alerted and the medication gradually discontinued:

    * Twitches and tremor[43]
    * Aggression[44]
    * Rage, hostility[31]
    * Mania, agitation, hyperactivity and restlessness”

    Did any of those apply to Lina Ron? Answers on a postcard please.

  3. Xanax and Oxy- (contin / codone or prescription opiates combined often with alcohol) are the most abused legal drugs leading to death in the US.  Xanax withdrawal (it has to be stopped tapering) can produce deadly seizures and strokes, like others of the “stronger” Benzos.

    Of course we will never know what really happened, but Daveed is correct: taken as prescribed by a specialist MD, Xanax will not cause death and, presuming the story is true, we can conclude that she was addicted to it and abused it, which may also explain her continuously irrational behavior (which somebody here described as a purist, authentic and being the only REAL Chavista). Maybe writing an addendum taking back this nonsense would be in order now that things seem to look a bit different.

    Hopefully it also puts the discussion about her “authenticity” to bed, because a person taking mind altering drugs can, by default, not be “authentic”.

    Btw, there are many more in the chavista ranks addicted to legal (alcohol most of the time and opioid prescription painkillers) and illegal (preferred are: Cocaine, Opiates, Meth and Benzos) drugs. Anybody with a bit of training / internet research or actually just common sense can pick them out when they e.g. are live on TV. 

    The stress and paranoia in corrupt and abusive systems gets to the people who are part of them and few are immune.

    Hitler was addicted to Methadone and Amphetamines, Goebbels to Codeine, Stalin to alcohol, Mao Tse Tung to Barbiturates, Bin Laden to Opiates, Lula / Ortega and Raul are all alcoholics (at different stages) and on and on we go.

    RIP Lina, you were just another sick person in every sense of the word. Maybe, just maybe, without drugs, you would actually have accomplished something of value for Venezuela.

    • Maybe, just maybe, without drugs, you would actually have accomplished something of value for Venezuela.

      I doubt it. As one commenter put it, many chavistas have the intellectual maturity of a 10-year old. I believe that, grosso modo. I believe that chavismo attracts the angry or the confused, because it celebrates misfits, rather than demand of them. Chavismo encourages behavioural deviancies and excuses intellectual sloppiness. Under its wing, this movement covers up deficiencies and provides its adherents with the delusion of capabilities and brilliance.

      I believe Ron was disturbed before the drugs. I believe she was a train wreck waiting to happen. Without drugs, she would have embraced chavismo because it allowed her to feel wanted, useful and normal. With drugs, she clung to the movement with feverish and uncontrolled behaviour. In the end, it was all a delusion. Her delusion. Until her lifestyle decisions gave her an outbound ticket, and perhaps, for once, a measure of peace.

  4. CodigoVenezuela tried to be quite specific: she died following a Xanax overdose, not necessarily of a Xanax overdose.

  5. Then… popular consensus, intuition and gossip about this woman were right on the spot? Every person I heard commenting on her said she was a junkie, who drank, snorted and mainlined everything under the sun.

    Sigh! This Revolution let it’s own rabble-rouser die of natural causes (sort of…)

  6. The first one to talk about it was Marianella Salazar in a tweet. You should read what the chavistas wrote to her for hours!

    I like very much M. Socorro’s article, it states everything about the blond woman, bluntly but with enough elegance.

    And yes, this drug is a fav among Venezuelans -here is called Tafil-. OTOH Lina was like any Hollywood star… lots of them died with this drug in their system. Una muerte muy farandulera pues ~to say the least.

    • Two things come to mind……the reported prevalence of tranquilizing drug use in Cuba and the abuse of readily available drugs like Tafil. Tafil itself is a great drug; I use 1mg to help me sleep sometimes but have a hard time picturing an overdose as it seems you’d go to sleep first, or have to take a foolish suicidal amount.

      About the Cuba thing, well that’s what you do when you earn 12 dollars a month and drugs are free.

    • When you ingest a mind-altering drug which is made by capitalists, like beer, you will also ingest capitalist ideology. Very harmful. 🙂

  7. I´m glad to see that investigative journalism is showing small signs of life… However, it has waaaaaays to go before it can be considered good.

    What irks me is that we have so much “material” to work with, it´s like an orgy of stories out there, yet our journalists stick to day-to-day crap, it´s pathetic…

  8. I’m certainly not a Lina Ron defender, but I find weird by how people interpret the word “authentic”. They bristle at using this word on a person who was not admirable. Well, some despicable persons can be called authentic (most of them are not), the same with a minority of alcoholics, drug addicts, terrorists, Bible thumpers, etc. I don’t if I would have used that word on Ron simply because I didn’t know enough about her, but drug abuse and narrowmindedness are not automatic disqualifiers.

    (I guess it comes down to the common problem that in using the same word we often mean different things.)

    • Kolya,

      “Authentic” was/is a code word used to describe someone, when one despises them yet social circumstances prevent blunt honesty. “Original” is another such code word.

      I worked in a business in which the number of people involved, virtually guaranteed that I would cross paths again with those I worked with. Thus, when we were asked by someone for a reference on an ex-colleague or ex-employee, it was not wise to trash that person. Hell, there was always the possibility we might have to work together again. Thus, we would use code words which were subtle, but completely understandable to those in the business, when giving references. For example: Q: Did you consider John a strong asset on your last project? A: Well, he certainly worked hard. Translation: He was substandard, but put in enough effort that I couldn’t fire him.

      We should always remember the context and constraints on the persons who make such statements and judgments, and interpret what they say accordingly.

  9. As a top level Chavista, Lina Ron did not get medicine from a Cuban “doctor” down at the local missione. However, maybe she would be alive if the medicine she got was aspirin from a Cuban doctor. Heavy with sarcasm.

  10. Did any of the international apologets of the robolution mentioned her death? In Germany as far as I see not one. Says it all about those blokes.

  11. Yeh well,i think this will be buried deep with pudreval and other scandals.
    Be real.

    By the way,take notice of Anna Nicole Smith’s death.
    I remember a doctor saying that a lot of different substances can pile up in your body.
    Then they can all pop at the same time,causing an (different kind of) overdose.
    It’d be smart to check out if besides the Xanax there were other strong or delicate substances she ingested,like coke,heroine,liquor or other prescription drugs.

    Just my 2 cents bill to snort some.

  12. more investigative reporting, really you should stop trashing your colleagues in venezuela, they are doing what they can with what they have and are allowed to do.

    it really pisses me off your attitude to sound holier than thou from the comfort of living out of the country to bash hard working professionals in venezuela. ye they could be doing a lot better but it is not their fault if they aren’t allowed to do it, how many journalists have fled the country for reporting what officials did not want people to see?

    • Very interesting article. Curious that she could be so civil with an opposition-oriented journalist in person, yet quite different publicly. If it weren’t for that dichotomy, I’d call that relationship a great example for all of Venezuela of how two people – and by extension, groups of people – can disagree and yet get along.

      One gem, which seems to sum up Barrio Adentro: ‘Me dijo, entre risas, que aceptó ver a unos de los médicos cubanos: “ay Linita tienes la tensión muy alta, -le dijo el médico-. Estás mal. Búscate algo para tomar”. Pregunto por qué las risas. “Es que no teníamos nada y ellos tampoco. No había ni una curita ni un alcohol. Sólo le conseguimos un estetoscopio y un tensiómetro”.’

    • What you don’t realize, dc, is that most Venezuelan journalists are just as angry as I am about the impossibility of getting funding to do proper investigative stuff, or, really, anything at all beyond transcribing a news conference. Think working as glorified stenographers is what got them motivated to pursue media careers? Hell no! But resources are spread so thin…

  13. I think I made a comment here before when I heard of Lina’s autopsy. That simple fact was suspicious. I don’t think that people with a simple heart attack get an autopsy, it must have been that the autopsy was required because the clinical framework was strange.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here