Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) of Thursday, November 29
IN HAVANA. The Presidents of Cuba, Raúl Castro; Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, are likely to be reunited soon, after their first meeting on March 7 and concomitantly with the ongoing talks between the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the Colombian government. This time, a new item could be added to the agenda, namely the Nicaragua-Colombia border issue, following the decision of the International Court of Justice.
THE PATIENT. President Chávez had made known on November 1 that we would see him less. "It is not my main task in this stage; but the battlefield is theirs." Reference was made to pro-government candidates running for state governors. On October 29, he reported on the appointment of a new Defense Minister, Admiral Diego Mollero Bellavia, during a telephone call to (state-owned) VTV, the TV channel of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). The inauguration of the new minister, which usually takes place in a military ceremony, has been postponed time after time with no official explanation whatsoever. We saw the incoming minister acting as such on Tuesday, November 27, during the wrecked celebration of Aviation Day. Anyway, the disease and its effects keep on going in the chubby body of the Head of State. We learned that he felt severe hip and bone pain, forcing him to rest and receive high doses of painkillers. Feeling unwell and more and more frequent pain, he has been forced to undergo a more intense therapy and keep away from multiple, on-the-rise, problems, since October 7 (the presidential election day). As thoroughly explained some weeks ago by Dr. Marianela Castés, specialized in Chemistry and Immunology, "the patient-caudillo set a goal, October 7, to win the electoral battle. His clear life purpose, achievable in the short term, together with his stamina, made his immune system accompany him in this task. Having reached that objective, the patient's immune system collapsed and started to deteriorate faster." Crystal-clear. We learned that he is aided by a walker in the private area of Miraflores presidential palace. In his letter to the National Assembly (AN) (requesting authorization to leave the country), the president declared: "I have been recommended special treatment with multiple sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy which, together with physiotherapy, completes the healing process." Chávez has used a hyperbaric chamber at Miraflores presidential palace, as suggested by Fidel Castro more than one year ago when he was lucid. The pupil accepted the advice and, thinking that it has made him well, ordered to buy a high-tech device and place it at the CIMEQ in Havana. The report sent to CIMEQ by Cuban doctors in Caracas briefs on the patient's values until jumping on the plane. No obligatory simultaneous broadcast, no spooky farewell, no dire songs by Maripili (Hernández, the Minister of Youth), no tears of the red vestals (the female members of the Board of Directors of the National Electoral Council, CNE). The report reads as follows: "A pain and stabilization therapy applies for him to have a better quality of life. His physical condition is normal; reasonable weight loss; continued high blood pressure; nausea and abdomen pain; good mood, but sometimes with variable depression periods; tolerable pain thresholds and responsive to the applied treatment; has rested lately and with reduced pressure from his government duties."
Translated by Conchita Delgado
As late as Tuesday, February 25, there was some visible response from Gabriela Ramírez's office. Representatives of the Office of the Ombudswoman would visit independent human rights watch groups to find what happened in connection with repression of protests. That day, they visited NGO Provea. The next day, they met with the attorneys of NGO Venezuelan Criminal Forum. They pursued specific data because -they argued- no claims of human rights violations of demonstrators had been filed with the Office of the Ombudswoman.