Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) released on Thursday, December 13
NUMBER ONE. The presentation on Wednesday on an obligatory simultaneous broadcast of Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro, flanked by Congress Speaker Diosdado Cabello and Minister of Petroleum and Mining Rafael Ramírez, dispelled doubts and confirmed the rumors of the serious health condition of the caudillo who has ruled Venezuela for 14 years and was recently reelected for another six-year term in office. Quoting Maduro: "The operation yesterday (Tuesday) was actually a complex, difficult, delicate operation, which means that the post-operative stage will be also a complex and tough process." In no time he would say that it was successful or that the patient was getting well or was recovered. We learned of a relapse in the early hours of Wednesday, when he developed bleeding. It happened likewise in the previous operation. Later, the Minister of Communication and Information, seasoned journalist Ernesto Villegas, posted on the ministry website: "Let us trust that, with the love of millions, the Commander will get well soon and will come to take over by January 10. Otherwise, our people ought to be prepared and comprehend it. Hiding the delicate nature of this current moment and upcoming days would be insensible. Our duty is to inform in a composed, calm manner." Much clearer than any other spokesperson. Many thanks.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.