"When Chavez became president of Venezuela, the country was limping"...He gave everything he had in him -- his sweat, soul, strength, energy, intelligence and love -- to change Venezuela with dignity, growth, sovereignty, and nation-building... He helped it to grow strong, beautiful and happy...Today, Venezuela grows and flourishes, thanks to his commitment and vision, thanks to his dedication and determination, thanks to his love."
Eva Golinger, Postcards from the Revolution
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is very sick. Currently he is in Havana, Cuba receiving treatment for a severe respiratory infection following his fourth cancer surgery in less than two years. Chavez hasn't been seen in public for more than three weeks.
Last week, Venezuela's vice president, Nicolas Maduro, issued a statement intended to quash malicious rumors about the president's health and inform worried supporters about the ailing Chavez's condition. Here's what he said:
"We have been informed of new complications that have arisen as the result of a previously diagnosed respiratory infection. Yesterday we were aware of his situation and how he is responding to his medication. We met numerous times with his medical team and his family. Just a few minutes ago we were with President Chavez. He greeted us himself and talked about the complications.
"After 19 days after undergoing surgery, President Chavez state of health continues to be delicate with complications that are being attended to in a process that is not without risks. Thanks to his great physical and spiritual and strength, Commander Chavez is confronting this difficult challenge.
"We have decided to stay with Chavez in Havana for the next few hours attentive to how his actual situation develops."
Chavez's struggle with cancer has been greeted with elation by the mainstream media that can barely contain its glee at the former-paratrooper's misfortune. The MSM -- representing the interests of bankers, corporatists, cut-throat oil oligarchs and bloodthirsty weapons manufacturers -- have waged a long and bitter fight with the man who dared to oppose the profit system, nationalize the nation's oil industry, and reject Washington's imperial ambitions in the region. For that, Chavez has been demonized in the media as a "leftist strongman" and a "dictator."
Corporate mandarins everywhere see Chavez's illness as an opportunity to recolonize the thriving country and replace its democratically-elected leadership with any one of the silver-spoon loafers that Washington keeps in tow for just this kind of situation (Think: Karzai). Two Intel agency-generated coups (guess who?) have failed to topple the popular and tenacious Chavez. We can only hope that he will be equally successful in his battle with cancer.
The media has launched an impressive propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting Chavez, denigrating his achievements, and spreading fear about the future. The intention is to foment political instability and gin up support for the right-wing opposition which has the implicit support of Washington. Here's a sample of the lies that are being spread by Chavez's enemies:
"Spain's ABC reported on Monday that president Chavez 'has entered into an induced coma, with his vital signs very low, maintained by artificial assistance... sources consulted by the ABC assured on Monday that a disconnection from artificial assistance had been scheduled...this disconnection, with the foreseeable result of death, could happen at any time.'"
The article further claimed that "almost half a metre of his intestine has been extracted" and that Chavez hasn't eaten solid food since.
The ABC also speculated that Venezuelan government officials "seem to be preparing the country for the news of his [Chavez's] death."
The report was reposted and copied by other mainstream media sources, and follows a previous report by ABC last week claiming that "Chavez had a tracheotomy" and was on "artificial respiration." ("Venezuelan Government Denounces 'Psychological Warfare' Regarding Chavez's Health," Venezuelanalysis)
None of this is true. It's all politically-motivated baloney. Chavez is NOT in a coma, half a metre of his intestines have NOT been removed, he has NOT had a tracheotomy, and the government is NOT preparing the country for the news of his death." These rumors just illustrate how despised Chavez is among the racketeer class of brandy-drooling plutocrats who want to return Venezuela to the pre-Chavez glory days of widespread ignorance, injustice and grinding poverty where 1 percenters ran the whole shooting match like their personal fiefdom.
Chavez swept the miscreants from office, restored the rule of law, and initiated social programs which have lifted millions out of poverty, raised standards of living across the board, reduced illiteracy, lowered unemployment, provided universal health care, increased pensions and minimum wage, nationalized Venezuela's booming oil industry, and stuck a big fat thumb in Uncle Sam's imperial eye at every opportunity. And that is why he is despised in the media, in the corporate penthouse suites and in the Oval Office. As Sky News foreign affairs correspondent Lisa Holland opined in a recent article:
"A strident critic of America's foreign policy, (Chavez) has been a thorn in Washington's side and has always been quick to offer shelter and vocal support to the countries America has struggled with." (Sky News.)