The rumors are flying, and now even the news services are mentioning that Hugo Chavez’s extended absence from Venezuela is rumored to be due to prostate cancer, among other things:
The Wall Street Journal:
Speculation coming from Cuba and Venezuela has focused on the possibility that Mr. Chávez has prostrate cancer, and has had his prostrate removed. A senior Venezuelan official didn’t respond to emailed questions about the speculation.
While at the same time,
his brother said the president would remain in a Cuban hospital for up to 12 more days
Some people suspect Chávez has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as prostate or colon cancer while others claim doctors botched liposuction surgery and he suffered an infection.
The chronology is
- Chavez had surgery in Venezuela
- Following the surgery, he left Venezuela and made stops in Brazil and Ecuador
- He then flew to Cuba, where he was operated for a pelvic abscess on June 10
- Chavez was interviewed by phone for Telesur on June 12
- On Friday June 17, Fidel and Raul Castro dropped by Chavez’s hospital room for a photo-op
- On June 21, Adan Chavez, Hugo’s brother, said that the president would return to Venezuela by July 4
Compounding the speculation, Adan’s statement would match a schedule for a round of chemotherapy, for instance.
However, after 20 days without tweeting or holding his TV or radio broadcasts, today Venezuela’s Chavez Sends First Tweets Since Having Surgery
In four messages through the website, Chavez praised his supporters and celebrated Friday’s Battle of Carabobo holiday, a commemoration of a major victory in 1821 by Venezuelan liberator Simon Bolivar in the country’s war of independence from Spain.
The president made no mention of his health or recovery. A lack of information and public appearances has led to a whirlwind of rumors from locals suggesting that Chavez’s condition may be worse than initially reported.
Known for his use of Twitter–his account has more than 1.6 million followers–and for filling the airwaves with his frequent and hours-long speeches, the firebrand socialist president has been uncharacteristically absent from the spotlight for more than two weeks.
“Every day I’m with you from here! Until victory always! We are winning! We will win!” Chavez wrote on his Twitter account. “You all know that the Battle of Carabobo has not ended! It is every day,” he added.
Chavez’s diagnosis is being treated as a state secret in Cuba, where the Cubans are under very restrictive rules regarding internet use.
Regardless of the diagnosis, the real cancer is the destruction of the Venezuelan economy, the people’s rights and freedoms under Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution, which he wants to metastasize through our hemisphere.