Roger Noriega of AEI on Hugo Chavez condition
Contrary to statements by Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chávez, a cancerous tumor discovered in his colon late last month has not been removed, according to my sources. Heeding the self-serving advice of Cuban doctors, Chávez has rejected surgery so that he can return to his public duties as soon as possible and bolster his regime’s ongoing succession strategy. The Castro brothers need him back on the political stage in Venezuela, not in a hospital bed. Meanwhile, back in Caracas, corrupt military leaders are consolidating their power and plotting their political survival as if Chávez were already dead.
Non-Cuban medical specialists insist that the larger-than-expected tumor must be removed before resuming last-ditch chemotherapy and radiation. They believe that Chávez’s decision to refuse surgery will hasten his death. Members of Chávez’s family and some close friends are furious that the Cubans are manipulating his megalomania to convince him that sustaining his ‘revolution’ is more important than extending his life.
Members of Chávez’s family and some close friends are furious that the Cubans are manipulating his megalomania to convince him that sustaining his ‘revolution’ is more important than extending his life.
Havana’s ruthless leaders are obsessed with trying to manage the transition in Caracas in order to ensure continued oil and aid for Cuba’s comatose economy. There is bad blood between the Castro brothers and the military vanguard that has been taking charge since January. New National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello knows that Fidel Castro convinced Chávez to marginalize him years ago. And the new minister of defense, General Henry Rangel Silva, is convinced that Castro will betray him and other narco-military officers in order to inoculate the regime against U.S. scrutiny. Indeed, the Castro regime is appalled that these hyper-corrupt military leaders would emerge as the face of Chavismo, preferring a civilian formula that will placate the international community and answer to Havana.