Last week, Mr. Bocaranda said Mr. Chávez had decided to go for treatment to Brazil, where he has a standing invitation from President Dilma Rousseff, herself a cancer survivor. But Mr. Bocaranda says Mr. Chávez changed his mind at the last minute.
“He couldn’t face Fidel Castro” if he had gone to Brazil, Mr. Bocaranda says, because that would embarrass the Cuban leader after Mr. Chávez heaped praise on Cuba’s doctors, thousands of whom man Venezuela’s medical system. “He’s thrown in the towel,” he says. “The family is sure this will kill him.”
Not surprisingly, the talk is now about Venezuela After Chávez,
Analysts now talk of the possibility of a struggle between the military and civilian factions that are armed. Independent of the military, the National Guard runs narcotics-trafficking routes through the country and the lucrative gasoline-smuggling businesses at the Colombian border. It also has a financial stake in who succeeds Mr. Chávez.
This has implications on American oil, trade, and national security, not only because of the drug trade but also because of Chavez’s ties with Iran and Syria. Considering that
Dr. Marquina told ABC that Mr. Chávez’s cancer has metastasized into the liver, the adrenal glands and the bladder, and that Cuban doctors did not want to operate again for fear of complications. That leaves radiation the last hope. If he responds well to further treatments, the Venezuelan doctor told ABC, he might live until next spring. Otherwise, he may not last the year.
We will find out soon enough.