Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) of Tuesday, December 11
THE DECISION? At the time of finishing off this column and sending it to daily newspaper El Universal (3:00 p.m. on Monday, December 10), the scheduled surgery was contingent only on President Hugo Chávez's decision. Previously, treating and consulted doctors had issued their opinion. In addition to the Cuban doctors who have taken care of the patient for one and a half year, three Venezuelan doctors were involved, including an urologist, a specialist in infectious diseases and an orthopedic surgeon. One of them was on site and two on the website. Add to this Two Brazilian doctors from Sao Paulo and no Russian at the end of the day. The three Venezuelan doctors agreed on the risk of operating the backbone and potential paralysis in the legs. Another view, in daily newspaper ABC of Madrid, tallied -any operation of bones –that is, lower vertebrae, hip and femur- could precipitate paralysis of lower limbs. Cubans, for their part, explained the method to be used and the surgery assets. I could not learn from the Brazilian's opinion. Denial or approval is up to him (President Chávez). His closer relatives accompany him. The pain referred by us is his main problem. Remember that the very caudillo mentioned the word "pain" in the obligatory simultaneous broadcast of Saturday. "However, some soreness, pain, surely the result of the effort made during the (election) campaign, and radiotherapy, in a very sensitive area. Therefore, we must pay careful attention to that. Well, I decided to come, making an additional effort, truly; because, well, the pain is sort of significant, isn't it? Anyway, with the treatment, painkillers, we are in a pre-operational stage, preparing everything." That was the state of affairs on Monday in Havana.
ANOTHER DETAIL. Although quite a few times the candidate promised Venezuelans that he was "healed," he knew that he was not. His desire to win on October 7 filled him with stamina, starting to disrupt at the end of the campaign in Caracas. A video attests to it. Had the election been held on the usual date, it would have matched last Sunday with a poor health condition. For this reason, they brought it forward. The proximity of the next gubernatorial election on December 16 would be useful for electioneering with his handpicked candidates for state governors. Now, everything has been confirmed.
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.