Chavez Almost Finished?
That is certainly the speculation, illustrating that Hugo may not last as long as his mentor, Fidel:
He is famed as one of the most verbose leaders on earth, a media-obsessed commander-in-chief whose adrenaline-filled speeches often stretch deep into the night.
But recent weeks have seen Hugo Chávez fall silent, as the Venezuelan president recovers from emergency hip surgery in Cuba. His uncharacteristic quietness has fuelled a flurry of speculation and criticism back home.
Since being admitted to hospital in Cuba on 10 June, Chávez has made just two public appearances, showing up last Friday in four photographs alongside the Cuban president, Raúl Castro, and his brother Fidel, and popping up on 12 June for a telephone interview with Venezuela’s Telesur television network.
Normally a prolific tweeter, Chávez’s Twitter profile – @chavezcandanga – has not been used since 4 June.
More than 1.6m Chávez followers are missing the president’s 140-character musings on anything from football results to the activities of Venezuela’s state-controlled oil firm, “the most revolutionary oil company in the world”.
Even an explosive outbreak of prison violence and a growing power crisis have failed to stir Venezuela’s convalescing president, prompting criticism from the opposition, a spate of online rumours and a fierce reaction from supporters who accuse detractors of launching opportunistic attacks on a sick man.