While the public found out about Lula the same day he did, Venezuelans found out what little we know weeks after Mr. Chávez did.
The irony of a private citizen holding no public office showing more transparency about his health than a sitting President was not lost on the author.
The money quote:
Details of (Lula’s) condition are still unknown. Lula told his doctors to release bulletins on his progress; Mr Chávez’s medical team has still not said a word.
The Brazilian press responded to Lula’s frankness in kind. Will Lula have to stay off the booze, journalists asked? (Definitely). Will he lose his hair? (Perhaps, and his beard.) His voice? (For a while, probably, though chemotherapy and radiotherapy were chosen over surgery partly to protect his growly delivery.) Public curiosity thus satisfied, the media have now moved on. Meanwhile in Venezuela, state-run television repeats that Mr Chávez is cured—and on the streets rumour runs wild.