Venezuelan army insists that Chavez is still in charge

posted at 1:15 pm on July 1, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

When newspapers erroneously reported the death of arms manufacturer Alfred Nobel and issued venomous obituaries about him (it was his brother who had died), the inventor of dynamite spent the rest of his life attempting to change his legacy.  He founded the Nobel Prize for peace, as well as for other endeavors, which have lasted for more than a century.  With that in mind, what might be going through Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez’ mind as he reads the reaction to his announcement of having had surgery for cancer:

Markets have generally reacted positively to news of Chavez’s health problems, on the presumption they improve the chances of a more business-friendly government.

That sentiment continued on Friday with Venezuela’s benchmark 2027 bond up 2.0 points.

“Political vacuums are rarely to be encouraged, but this one could lead to a slowdown in public spending and could raise the likelihood of an opposition victory in the next elections, and thus a less confrontational governing style,” said Richard Segal, an emerging markets analyst at Jefferies in London.

It’s the political vacuum that the Venezuelan army wants to avoid.  They took the rather notable step of insisting that everyone is behaving themselves in Venezuela to discourage a vacuum from developing, one that could implode the Chavez regime:

Army chief General Henry Rangel Silva said the military would guarantee constitutional order during Chavez’s absence for treatment in Cuba. The president, he said, would be home “soon” and was still in charge of Venezuela.

“We have seen our comandante thinner than usual but still standing. The truth is he is getting better, he’s fine,” Rangel told state television. “The country is calm.”

Reuters refers to Chavez as “normally vivacious,” an odd description for anyone who isn’t an entertainer (and usually a female), but the report uses it to note the pronounced lack of energy in Chavez’ statement.  Fausta provides a partial translation and an observation based on her experience in watching Chavez:

“However, and in spite of the favorable general course, throughout the process of draining and healing, there appeared suspicion of the presence of other cellular formations that had not previously been detected. Therefore, a series of special tests was started immediately, cytochemical, cytopathologic, microbiologic, and pathologic, which confirmed the presence of an abscessed tumor with the presence of cancerous cells, which necessitated a second surgery.”

Note the labored, almost contrived, speech and elaborate syntax, along with the tense delivery, a big change from Chavez’s customary informal and very colloquial style.

It sounds as if the Chavez regime is very concerned about his ability to hold power.  Chavez has not left Cuba yet, where surgery was performed, and has now announced that he will skip the bicentennial of Venezuela’s independence on July 5th.  His absence will send a powerful message to Venezuelans who know that Chavez wouldn’t miss an opportunity for propagandizing unless his life depended on it.  Silva’s assurances aside, Venezuelans may start thinking about what follows after Chavez — and they might start thinking that the post-Chavez era should start as soon as possible.

Update: Er, Chavez had surgery for cancer, not cancer for surgery, as I wrote originally.  Yikes.

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Venezuela needs to get rid of her cancer.

Schadenfreude on July 1, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Well, Obama has all the answers for health care…so let’s send him down to Venezuela. And he can stay there. And his moose wife too.

search4truth on July 1, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Note the labored, almost contrived, speech and elaborate syntax, along with the tense delivery, a big change from Chavez’s customary informal and very colloquial style.

He has adopted Obama’s speaking style.

Schadenfreude on July 1, 2011 at 1:22 PM

How bad is the healthcare in Venezuela to make going to Cuba for cancer treatment sound like a good option? Especially considering he’s the dictator of an OPEC country and can afford the best treatment anywhere in the world. There’s more to this story. Wait and see.

Tommy_G on July 1, 2011 at 1:25 PM

If he goes to Russia before going home, it means they’re having him stuffed.

cartooner on July 1, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Because he might not get out of Houston alive!

cartooner on July 1, 2011 at 1:31 PM

My last post was meant for:

Tommy_G on July 1, 2011 at 1:25 PM

cartooner on July 1, 2011 at 1:33 PM

I hope I can snag him in Stoaty’s new dead pool. :)

Bob's Kid on July 1, 2011 at 1:33 PM

My prayers go out to the people of Venezuela and my in-laws there especially.

I have no prayers for Chavez.

Pcoop on July 1, 2011 at 1:33 PM

“I got five and a half years more to go”

Top hyena said yesterday.

Schadenfreude on July 1, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Chavez: Reports of my imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Steve Z on July 1, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Chavez has not left Cuba yet, where surgery was performed, and has now announced that he will skip the bicentennial of Venezuela’s independence on July 5th.

El Presidente: Feliz Cinco de Cuatro. Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Julio. Whatever!

Steve Z on July 1, 2011 at 1:37 PM

I have no prayers for Chavez.

Pcoop on July 1, 2011 at 1:33 PM

I do.

Schadenfreude on July 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Give Obama one more term and Chavez will appear to have been a gnat in the annals of history.

Schadenfreude on July 1, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Francisco Franco is still dead.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on July 1, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Reuters refers to Chavez as “normally vivacious,” an odd description for anyone who isn’t an entertainer (and usually a female), but the report uses it to note the pronounced lack of energy in Chavez’ statement.

Translation: Off the coke.

novaculus on July 1, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Sean Penn hardest hit…..

JohnnyMojo on July 1, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Weiner(D), Hugo the eunuch, Obama the Dick, the rule of threes!

DANEgerus on July 1, 2011 at 4:24 PM

If we thought Hugo was compensating with Iranian Missiles before… well… he has a lot less to compensate for now.

DANEgerus on July 1, 2011 at 4:32 PM

My prayers go out to the people of Venezuela and my in-laws there especially.

I have no prayers for Chavez.

Pcoop on July 1, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Pray for him to come to repentance.

Slowburn on July 2, 2011 at 5:02 AM