The plural of cancer

Retroperitoneal sarcoma, folks

The Economist has an interesting article comparing Lula’s recently discovered cancer troubles with Hugo Chávez’s.

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.

Wild indeed.

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  1. Of course, that’s the difference between someone who understands, as a former public servant, he is a public figure, and one who seems to think the public is at his service. Unfortunately, he runs his government with the same level of transparency, sharing only the (mis)information he thinks you should be allowed to know.

    Irony aside, the example for Chavez here should not be Lula (though Lula’s actions should be enough to shame him, were he capable of experiencing shame), but Fernando Lugo. And here’s another fascinating bit of irony: a pretty good article about Lugo’s cancer (cited on his Spanish Wikipedia page, no less) is available on Telesur.

    (PD: The first parenthetical note in the “money quote” should say “Chavez’s” rather than “Lula’s.”)


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