Cancer as a weapon


Boris Muñoz wrote what I consider the best piece of this election campaign. But … he is also writing in English, over at Newsweek. It figures.

His story on this electrifyingly close election is here. The money quote, re. the riole the President’s illness has (or hasn’t) played in the campaign,

Then came the resurrection of the summer: miraculous—and incredibly convenient. As someone very close to Chávez told me (anonymously as he feared falling out of favor with the supreme commander), it was a welcome distraction from the wear and tear of years of failed policies. Chávez “has drawn attention away from the big problems of his administration such as its incompetence, corruption, and bureaucracy, and the nation’s criminal violence,” the source said. “He has created this dramatic scenario to … seduce the masses because he knows that, terminally ill or not, this is his last chance.”

Indeed, even some members of his inner circle suspect that Chávez’s long battle with cancer is really an elaborate charade masterfully orchestrated in complicity with the government of Havana— and one that might win him yet another term, perpetuating his presidency for another six years.


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  1. If he doesn’t have cancer how does anyone explain his ‘campaign” or lack of one. It seems the storyline falls apart when we view his campaign with decreased events, missed events, his energy and appearance etc. I don’t get it.

    • I’m sorry you may need to read again, ill or not, the main purpose was to draw away the bigger problems flooding the media with the image of a charismatic, president of the poor, the new coming of Jesus, Bolivar… sigh… giving the battle of his life, and wanting a second opportunity to help the poor, the weak etc.

      That was practically until a couple of months ago. Now there is no even a single mention of his “illness” from him anymore. What all of the sudden he is cured?.

      Sorry but I for one, I don’t buy it, I guess the only thing that I have to complaint about the opposition during that time is their shyness to demand the medical tests from an independent source. Clearly the man is a liar by nature, he is a sociopath.

      Let’s have a look to Santos, as of now he’s recovering from a surgery, his country knows about it, his people knows when he is going to resume his duties. Is the difference between a man with integrity and that respect the people that he is bound to serve.

  2. 1. Provocative title, Juan — congrats to you or the Central Committee.
    2. Boris Muñoz deserves a prize solely on the basis of getting Noam Chomsky to take off his rose-colored glasses regarding revolutionary justice in Venezuela.

  3. The Venezuelan opposition never ceases to amaze with its incompetent silliness. So let’s see, who was obsessed with spreading rumors about Chavez’s imminent death from cancer? Oh that’s right, the very same opposition that is now whining about those same rumors that the opposition itself spread.

    • He played to some deeply held fantasies of ours… That’s why it worked, all he needed was that spark.

      Even having read this post, most of us are still subconsciously waiting for him to take his last trip to Havana.

    • Unless the Cubans have found a way to inject an innocuous solution into the back of one’s neck, plus the entire head and face so that it resembles a round watermelon, with no ill effects, or unless they have advised taking steroids to accomplish the same visual look, again with no ill effects, then yes, I’d say Chávez is not seriously ill.

  4. This is something I’ve always suspected. Not that he does not have cancer, but that it was incredibly overblown by sensationalist journalists like Bocaranda and Rather, which played right into Chavez’s hands. Government of course never denied any rumors and maybe organized a few unnecessary trips to Havana and kept him out of public view more than necessary, thus fueling the flames. Of course, right as election day approaches Chavez is now more active and his latest appearances more lively. He sure is looking cured in these campaign closings ….

  5. ahhhh jaja q bueno es el dulce de leche…. de verdad no me asombra ver ni un mini post sobre la mega concentración de capriles en maracaibo, va en linea con el supuesto “Maracucho” de este blog… el cual me recuerda a un episodio de seinfeld, donde un dentista se mete a judío solo por los chistes… lo mismo pasa aquí, solo que el que se mete a maracucho, (o le recuerda al mundo que en algún momento de su vida, antes de mutar en otro se, nació y vivió buena parte de su pre-vida en maracaibo) lo hace solamente cuando necesita hablar mierda del lugar donde nació!
    Hoy le recordamos al mundo q el Zulia, desde siempre ha llevado la vanguardia y no hacen falta imbéciles, para demostrar nuestra posición, así q gracias por no postear nada!!!
    ara mi, solo me hizo falta entrar a este blog para lograr motivarme a ayudar en todo lo posible lograr la mayor victoria estatal para capriles y posiblemente darle la presidencia… espero q ver a Pablo junto a Capri mas cientos de miles de maracuchos haya sido suficiente para q te duela, por lo menos la cabeza!

  6. But ultimately, a weapon in the service of what…a few more months, maybe, best case scenario for Chavez? This is a movement with no succession plan. It is a movement incapable of contemplating a succession plan because it is a movement built around one man. If you look at the long game, and where things stand now, even if Capriles loses, he wins. (the latter thought, planted by Andres Oppenheimer today.)

    • a weapon in the service of the movement ultimately, let’s not underestimate these people for a change, we are talking about people that use the constitution whenever suits their needs, and throw it away when it doesn’t.

      Look at Argentina, practically every major political party has Peron figure embedded in their core, who says that the same thing can not happen in Venezuela once Chavez crooks. The next election is now or never for the future of Venezuela.

  7. How heartening is it to find new (new to me, anyways) writers on Venezuela of this caliber?

    Possible nitpick: Describing Capriles and PJ as center-right to a gringo audience in 2012 strikes me as inaccurate. Either he’s been hanging out too much with Chomsky or I’ve been reading too much of the WSJ opinion pages. 🙂

    PS. Gessen was a psychologist?!? I am having breakfast!

    • Although the MUD’s platform and programs are center/center left, PJ is still center right. Regardless of how hard PJ try to sell itself as center, they’re still aligned internationally with center right parties and institutions, such as the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung…
      In the end, PJ is to COPEI, what UNT is to AD…

      • I’m inclined to agree. Capriles who started his political affiliation in COPEI has, for me, the markings of a copeyano. Pero aún así, lo perdono.

  8. It seems statistically impossible to me that nobody would say Chavez faked his cancer. Just like it was statistically impossible that nobody would say George W. himself knocked down the Twin Towers. Yet another unfounded and inevitable conspiracy theory about Chavez? This one’s dog-bites-man for me, I’m going to stick to the fascination of watching a presidential debate.


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