Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) of Thursday, December 20
THE PATIENT. Hitherto, five Latin American presidents and Fidel Castro have been the rudest or rather realistic?- spokespersons of the cancer suffered by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and its sequels. Ecuador's Rafael Correa cautioned against a delicate surgery. Fidel pointed to the need to keep on fighting even in Chávez's absence. Bolivia's Evo Morales acknowledged that he could not visit the Venezuelan leader because of his delicate health condition. A moved Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega wished him quick recovery. Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos voiced expectation about being in good terms with Chávez's potential heir. Brazil's Dilma Rouseff made a telephone call to inform Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro, instead of learning about the patient. I was told that the Brazilian president -in daily touch with the doctors of Syrian-Lebanese Hospital at Sao Paolo who have seen Chávez in prior surgeries- made a telephone call to ascertain how much the Vice-President knew about the caudillo's real ailments, as the official press releases suggested lack of knowledge or Cuban secrecy. She follows up the patient's disease on a daily basis. On Wednesday, December 19, since Monday evening, the Venezuelan president would go from a stable to a critical condition. Fever returned. He was taken to the operating room for an emergency tracheosthomy due to respiratory troubles. The medical team endeavors to prevent any unbalance in his vital signs. Most importantly, they try to prevent the spread of any infection. For this reason, they keep him isolated.
SKIRMISH. In the light of the big question mark in the ruling party and the military, instead of militants, any kind of meetings would be held. From bridges of three sectors of Chavezism with a similar number of democratic political leaders, to inner plots to secure shares of power in the, increasingly certain, event that the caudillo of the revolution will not take over in January; from proposals to establish a constituent assembly to delaying the required election. Thus far, the prevailing choice is to call presidential election soon to cash in on the electoral hurricane. Inner fears are present in civilians and military alike.
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.