Sunday, December 09, 2012

Chavez and cancer

Hugo Chavez says his cancer--still undefined--has returned and so once again he will go to Cuba.

He was absolutely masterful in making himself appear sufficiently healthy during the campaign that the cancer ceased to be a factor for the presidential election. He made a major effort to make just enough public appearances, deny rumors and, above all, avoid secret trips to Cuba. Henrique Capriles framed himself as youthful but ultimately that didn't matter. Chavez was vigorous enough to take the issue off the table.

But he held on and won the election, and so the question is no longer whether the opposition can take electoral advantage of the situation, but rather just how a potential chavista transition would look for the next six years. That's a lot of political breathing room.

When the government refuses to tell the truth, then rumors will fly even more than usual. At this point, there is no reason at all to believe any public declaration denying Chavez's health problems.


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