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It has been a crowded weekend in Havana so far. First, two Latin American presidents tried unsuccessfully to visit the comandante presidente: Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Peru’s Olanta Humala. At least Cristina met with both Castros for a chat.

Then, Nicolás Maduro traveled to Cuba for the weekend as well (don’t be worried, he left Electricity Minister Hector Navarro in charge) and joined a gathering of Chavismo’s political team, according to Science Minister and Chavez’s son-in-law Jorge Arreaza.

Other major figures arrived later on Saturday, including National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, Oil Minister/PDVSA President Rafael Ramirez and Solicitor General Cilia Flores. Cuban President Raúl Castro confirmed that he met with all of them.

The only important absence is Barinas State Governor Adan Chavez who returned home and insisted in a written statement that his brother Hugo “…is not in a state of coma.”

Meanwhile at home, there has been some protests in the last few days: some were peaceful while others ended with repression. I agree with Miguel: Venezuela is now on auto-pilot.

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  1. I’m really excited about the meetings in Havana this weekend. I expect them to finally produce the proof of life photo with the newspaper or at least say they met with Chavez and have his orders.

  2. “…is not in a state of coma.” Don’t think of the elephant, it totally is not there. But you cannot reach out your hand and see for yourself. How dimwitted or gullible can they think the people hearing him to be? A: A whole lot, for they are talking to PSFs and chavistas not to us dirty unbelievers, and to swallow Socialism and the Disappearing Leader alike… Else they think we are to think they are playing an elaborate trick, whereby Hugo is sipping a cold mojito right now and will return any day now from perceived near-death… all in a day’s work for the Cold War world of lies and deception and political fanaticism, or the Venezuelan world of nonsensical economics (nonsense even for Socialism), infinite ignorance, rent-seeking and gullibility these people preach to. You are right Quico, we are frigging weird. We don’t believe. We don’t watch Sabado M!&#dasacional or Alo Mamador de Gallo Presidente and think them funny.

  3. lets do a logic tree for this statement “…he is not in a coma”
    a) if he is dead, then he truthfully is not in a coma…adan would not be lying
    b)if he is conscious, then I would expect Hugo to be at least waving from his bed in a picture…after all, his cult needs proof of his invinciability

    therefore: he is dead, and adan can afterwards say that he never lied to el pueblo

    corolory #1 to point a): the meetings of all the players from Venezuela and abroad amount to a “summit” to plan the next few months…and most telling of all is that EVERY ONE of them met with the Castros

    digo yo…

    • My thinking exactly. This is the negotiations for a succession. Bring all the powers that disagree to one table and have somebody mediate.

      Hmmm…who amongst the leftist leaders in the world might be selected to arbitrate intra-party problems and has a relatively long track record for doing so? Which leftist world leaders have sufficient street-cred to command respect and authority? Which country might have the most to gain from steering the discussion in a direction that can benefit them best? Could they all be located in one city?


      I think Adan is either an ideological holdout, or he supports his brother’s choice in Maduro.

      • Which leftist world leaders have sufficient street-cred to command respect and authority?
        Count out Cristina. She only had un almuerzo ‘íntimo’ with the Castros. And let’s face it, for all its libertarian ideals, at the heart of castrismo/chavismo lies an unshakable misogyny.
        Count out, too, Pepe Mujica, un alcohólico incoherente — hardly a reliable mouthpiece of the revolution. (For all we know, Raúl Castro maintains his alcoholism under control.) If among prisoners, child abusers are the most reviled, I can’t imagine things being so different among “revolutionaries”. Therefore, count out Daniel Ortega for his sexual abuse of the daughter he adopted, when she was 11.

  4. Adam Chavez comment is a give away, you dont say of someone who is ill but in normal possesion of his mental faculties that ‘he is not in a comma’ , you say that of some one who is barely alive and yet the assumption is that his is not even a temporary incapacity .

  5. It’s a mark of economic, political and social stability that this situation could potentially go on for months, and the only people complaining would be those who depend least on the government.

    • And here I was thinking it was the exact opposite of that. If everything is perfectly stable, why circle the wagons and have everyone fly to Havana? Why not let “business as usual” continue? Why does the inner circle in pretty much its entirety have to go to Cuba? If everything is just fine and dandy, why are these people not fulfilling their roles within Venezuela?

      Pick another country that is “stable”. Germany and Merkel. Canada with Harper. Hell, even Saudi Arabia an Al Saud. If they were ill to the point that they left their country for care in a second country and the government line was “everything is fine, situation a-ok” and then everyone nominally in charge vacated the country at the same time to check in with their elected (or not-elected, as the case may be) leader, would that be considered normal?

      I think not.

      • Maybe you can tell us exactly what part of the state cannot function correctly with top officials paying short visits to an island 3 hours away?

        • Given that the state isn’t functioning all that well to begin with…perhaps if El Presidente is simply convalescing, they should stay at home and focus on their real problems.

          You know, minor things. Crime. Shortages. Inflation. More crime. Dropping oil production. Lack of foreign investment. Decreasing foreign reserves. Creditors withdrawing funds. Infrastructure deteriorating to the point of collapse. Even more crime. More inflation.

          If everything is fine in Cuba, why go in the first place? Why only the part of the cabinet that effectively rules?

          Curious that few of the other ministers that are more or less irrelevant/replaceable at a whim haven’t been to Cuba recently. Right?

        • It’s good to see the Venezuelan colonial administration paying proper homage to their masters.

          And to those who say Cuba, a small Island with a fraction of the population can’t possibly rule such a large nation as Venezuela, have you read history? Great Britain, a small island, ruled over a quarter of the world at its height and its influence can still be seen in a united India and numerous African countries. Why can’t Cuba rule over a relatively small south american nation?

        • The State IS NOT functioning correctly. Inflation is jumping, or you had not noticed? Same with shortages, or where do you get toilet paper? Many things should be done and all that matters is Cuba and the patient and nobody makes any decision. The repression and censorship is the only problem that they take care of. Meanwhile, we are told that Chavez’ illness requires “specific measures”, doublespeak by any other name.

          • Yes, Yoyo argues they are transparent about Chavez’s health, with “specific measures” being given.

            Oh, and we all know where Yoyo is getting his toilet paper, have you seen a Chavista totting the constitution recently?

    • Lo! and Behold! the (positive, for chavismo) Spin of the Ages… You have just inverted chiral symmetry of this blog with this one. But then you admit that Hugo Chavez is not exactly lounging under a tree and sipping a mojito at the CIMEQ? Maybe you shall be able to admit that in all probability the only thing Hugo Chavez can manage now is to vegetate on life support?

      Yeah, a mark of economical, political and social stability, as seen in the country in “El Otoño del Patriarca”…

    • Hard to tell. The popular conception has always been that Diosdado is some sort of right-wing guy who doesn’t get along with the Cubans and the civil/leftie wing of the ruling party. Isn’t it true that he hadn’t even visited Cuba until HCF became seriously ill?

      Have you guys noticed that, for the last 2-3 weeks, there’s been an almost-daily news story about Diosdado clarifying that he’s totally rodilla en tierra and BFFs with Maduro and the rest of the party? This pic looks like more of the same.

  6. Notice how a figure that was surely important before, but only as an executive, the head of the most important public corporation in Venezuela, the President of PDVSA (now amalgamated with Oil Minister) now heads a Sixth Power, nay, his own autocracy, a personal empire and State within a State. THAT and building Socialism must take time from the tasks of the President of PDVSA, so much that oil production slips.

    • Fashionista Fidel started the Adidas track suit trend, 6 years ago, during his recuperation from a surgical intervention by Spanish specialists, after a Cuban botched job. Chávez followed by choosing a track suit wear and Cuban surgeons. The cap gives the ensemble that oh-so polished look (…)

    • Its not just another Adidas track suit. Its form the UEFA champions league, i.e. The most bourgeois football tournamet on earth.

  7. Breaking news:
    Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still valiantly holding on in his fight to remain dead.

    Any similarity with supervening situations on a Caribbean island are (absolutely not) mere coincidence.

  8. Everyone should prepare for Chavez likely return to Venezuela. If elections are called he will be sent to Venezuela to support his revolution. I now believe he will become stable enough to return to Venezuela where he will die within months. He may be in worse shape than Fidel Castro, in a wheelchair, barely speaking, and moving slowly. His respiratory problems are most likely permanent. The cancer has likely invaded most of his body and cannot be stopped but temporary improvements are possible.

    Would the people in the photo dare to be caught smiling and laughing if Chavez was near death?


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