"Let me preface this denial by saying something unambiguously false"

Where to even start with these clowns?

So, amid the most recent stream of rumors about Chávez’s health, I was glad to see the government asked some actual medical professionals to give us an official account of how the president’s cancer treatment is going.

Alas, turns out that the government’s clarification exercise consisted in having the same old tired propaganda lines trotted out by a bunch of guys who happened to be wearing lab coats instead of red t-shirts.

It’s not just that these guys added exactly nothing to the record that wasn’t there before, it’s not just that they failed to specify even the bare-bones basics about the location, type and stage of cancer Chávez faced, it’s not just that they seemed to have been tasked specifically with denying recent rumors while making sure not a shred of previously unavailable information was made public in the process, no.

It’s that one of them, Dr. Rafael Vargas, blurted out the kind of obvious, outright lie that demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that these guys are PSUV hacks engaged in a damage-control exercise rather than medical professionals giving a proper medical report.

“The president has never, ever had psychiatric treatment. That’s a total fallacy.”

Really, Dr. Vargas? Really!?

Let’s just recall, the original Chávez Patient Confidentiality scandal dates all the way back to 2001, when his then shrink (and, at that point, not-yet-convicted-murderer) Edmundo Chirinos went gabbing about his “friend and patient” to Jon Lee Anderson for that brilliant piece in The New Yorker.

It’s like trying to burnish your credibility as an astronomer by just casually asserting that the sun rises in the west.

Honestly, I didn’t buy the rumors that Chávez’s cancer treatment was going badly…until I heard the denial.