CARACAS, Thursday February 28, 2013 | Update

President Chávez has been off the air for 80 days

"I can imagine that had the President been ready to show up, he would have shown up"

Jesse Chacón, an influential ex-government authority, advocates Chávez's right to be far from the media right now (Photo: V. Alcázares)
Thursday February 28, 2013  02:39 PM
Many thought that the return of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez to his country of origin would mean his public reappearance. Neverthless, 10 days after, the most famous patient in Caracas' Military Hospital remains as invisible as in Cuba, with the visits restricted to a small number of close relatives and ministers.

With a shared odd sensation that it is not a good signal, both the government and the opposition are at odds with the 80 days of absence from TV of the most media president in Latin America. On the one hand, the government claims respect for his privacy. On the other hand, the opposition asks for transparency in view of the government informational opacity.

"I can imagine that had the President been ready to show up, he would have shown up. I wonder that he is undergoing a complex treatment, ex minister Jesse Chacón told Efe.

In his view, the president's comeback "knocked down all the myths that killed him in January." The president, Chácon feels, "deserves to be seen as customary" and Venezuelans are ready to let him take his time.

"There has been a great informational opacity. Here, actually, nobody knows what is going on with the president's health. I would tell that not even his closest ministers know it," reasoned Marcelino Bisbal, a communication expert with Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB).

"Here, the Cuban script is being used, in an attempt at preventing any information from being leaked," Bisbal declared.
The rock of discord

A shipment of over 30,000 tons of phosphate arrived at Puerto Cabello port in late July on board the Shi Long Ling, a Chinese-flagged vessel that began its long journey in northern Africa. The cargo boat docked on July 26 after traveling more than 3,200 nautical miles. Undoubtedly, this would just be considered one in many cargo ships crisscrossing the oceans if it were not for the fact that Venezuela has denounced Western Sahara occupation by Morocco and yet purchases the territory's natural resource products from the occupying power.

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