The Possibility of an Island

La Orchila
La Orchila

So now it turns out President Chávez is (or is not – you know how these things are) spending his last days receiving hospice care on the tiny naval-base/island of La Orchila, about 160 km. north of Caracas. The government pours scorn on the rumours, but offers only bluster in their place. So…is it true? Is it not true? Who on Earth can tell?

The more I think about it, the more it seems perfect. Chávez’s final days are a perfect encapsulation of his rule – a bizarre web of rumours, deceptions and over-the-top accusations stemming from an obdurate insistence on total opacity. How could it have been otherwise?

To the extent that anybody actually believes the propaganda lie about Chávez being on the mend, it’s the president’s own supporters. The people who’ll find the news hardest to digest, those whom the government claims to champion and represent, are the ones actually being lied to, right down to the very end. It’s their needs, their right to transparency, to psychologically prepare themselves and to, in time, grieve with dignity, that are being monstrously trampled over in favor of the sick power games of the chavista inner circle.

Could the grotesque disfigurement of Venezuela’s public sphere be more dramatically displayed?

Chávez is dying just as he lived: lost in a maelstrom of his own lies, shafting the people he claimed to care most about. It really is perfect.