“Let me preface this denial by saying something unambiguously false”

Where to even start with these clowns?

So, amid the most recent stream of rumors about Chávez’s health, I was glad to see the government asked some actual medical professionals to give us an official account of how the president’s cancer treatment is going.

Alas, turns out that the government’s clarification exercise consisted in having the same old tired propaganda lines trotted out by a bunch of guys who happened to be wearing lab coats instead of red t-shirts.

It’s not just that these guys added exactly nothing to the record that wasn’t there before, it’s not just that they failed to specify even the bare-bones basics about the location, type and stage of cancer Chávez faced, it’s not just that they seemed to have been tasked specifically with denying recent rumors while making sure not a shred of previously unavailable information was made public in the process, no.

It’s that one of them, Dr. Rafael Vargas, blurted out the kind of obvious, outright lie that demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that these guys are PSUV hacks engaged in a damage-control exercise rather than medical professionals giving a proper medical report.

“The president has never, ever had psychiatric treatment. That’s a total fallacy.”

Really, Dr. Vargas? Really!?

Let’s just recall, the original Chávez Patient Confidentiality scandal dates all the way back to 2001, when his then shrink (and, at that point, not-yet-convicted-murderer) Edmundo Chirinos went gabbing about his “friend and patient” to Jon Lee Anderson for that brilliant piece in The New Yorker.

It’s like trying to burnish your credibility as an astronomer by just casually asserting that the sun rises in the west.

Honestly, I didn’t buy the rumors that Chávez’s cancer treatment was going badly…until I heard the denial.

43 thoughts on ““Let me preface this denial by saying something unambiguously false”

  1. And that’s why is hard, if not impossible to know the truth about Chavez’s health.

    P.S. Other of the doctors is the brother of Rafael Ramirez. So, if those doctors were loyal, why making all the procedures in Cuba? These guys have no credibility and no shame.

  2. Two questions: 1. Is any of those guys an oncologist? 2. Will the regular Juan Bimba be satisfied with the information they gave?

    We’re skeptical about coming from the chavistas, so we’re not going to fall for this, but what about the regular Venezuelan? They saw this bunch of guys wearing coats saying that cabeza de cochino was alright and probably that will be enough for them, don’t you think?

    • 1. if anyone of them were an oncologist and I had cancer, I’d book the first fligiht to Cuba.
      2. yeah, I think Juan Bimba would be satisfied with the performance. But maybe not for long. Sooner or later, the tooth will out.

    • one is a dermatologist, one is an ophtalmologist and the other they say is a dentist … ¿te extraña?? not me

  3. We are people who highly respect Doctors in our society. However, Chavez does not respect any professionals. Chavez is building an identity of a “witchdoctor”-now, he can talk to, make deals with Spirits.( We cannot do that-well, most of us can’t ?) Of course, most of “us” don’t believe in this stuff-but, not “el pueblo” – and many “educated people” believe in this too..
    IF-Chavez is seriously ill- most people who try this quackery end up dead rather quickly. If-this was a minor cancer- then Chavez is exploiting this and continuing to build his false superhero-divine being -identity.
    Obviously, I think, Dr. Navarette was a total propaganda exercise put out there-even the psychiatric issues are meant to a. gloss over serious mental issues about CHavez,b. feeds into his image as a
    witchdoctor- outside western thinking..etc..

  4. Our normal mode of behavior in these situations -ie sick patient- is totally different from what is happening here.
    We are being dragged into a spirit world- full of lies, mystery, devils, -where we all should
    STAY OUT -I believe. But, so many -want to go there- you see this stuff in movies all of the time..
    Insanity has knocked the door down and is in the house…

  5. I have another view. I think the Naverette info caught Chavismo & the Cubans by surprise. That’s why he left the country.

    They are now trying to minimize the damage (and the truth) by marching out these red doctors to deny, deny, deny. A time worn response from politicians the world over when the public learns something that you didn’t want them to know.

    i firmly believe HC is sick & that the Naverette info started a ground swell of politicking inside the PSUV that Chavez wanted to put a lid on rapidly.

    We’ll certainly know if this is true in a few months, You can’t hide this forever.

    • hi, i beg to differ… there is a saying in this land that says “no aclares que oscureces” so everyone and the cat was convinced of el pelón being sick-er after these guys “cleared up” that the president was not bipolar, but didn’t deny at all the retroperitoneal psoas sarcoma.
      navarrete left the country the next day after the SEBIN visited his offices in the sta s clinic and were snooping around his records and computers. he wrote a public letter that came out friday in Tal Cual explaining from his exile in mexico why he supposedly wrote the first letter. and last but not least i wonder as everyone here did last night, what took these venerable hospimil drs to come out so LATE – a full whole week after navarrete’s disclosure???
      very fishy…

  6. One of the adjective they used to describe HC’s health was “inmejorable”. It is a funny choice of words given that applies to someone with perfect health as well to someone with no cure (or dead).

    • Yes!, that’s not a Freudian slip up. It’s more like an inside joke, a little rebellion. I’m sure they’re trying to let the truth slip between the lies.

      • Good one on “inmejorable”! It certainly covers the bases, if and when Chávez dies of cancer, or whatever.

        It also reminds me of Rafael Vargas’ attempts to squeeze any credibility out of Naverrete by commenting about the latter’s doctor-patient relationship with Chávez as follows: “nunca mantuvo una relación médico-paciente…”

        The less discerning will take ‘nunca mantuvo’ to indicate that Navarrete lied and never treated Chávez. The truth is that there was a relationship (even providing medical information has to rely on a Q and A with the patient to come to some determination), as per Vargas’ own admission. According to Navarrete’s account in M Semanal, that doctor-patient relationship was not maintained for any of the Venezuelan doctors on the team, selected to care for Chavez’ health in March 2002, after the *coup* signalled a change. At that point, Chavez put his health exclusively in Cuban hands.

    • Good catch! Reminds me of the old line about the patient who is in “a stable condition, an extremely stable condition: he’s dead.”

    • Well, if they said it in the usual sense, it is a lie. Absolutely. So that is the credibility they deserve, zero.

    • Yeah, I caught that one, too. I wonder if they were trying for the equivalent of “couldn’t be better” in English, but that definitely is not the same.

  7. One question —and I beg you pardon the mood implicit— does it really matter if we (readers of this blog, and most likely “over educated” in average) believe or not the show that Chavecismo has staged here?
    I agree with Quico, the tone of their response points to a really serious health condition that they are hiding from us, but I really think they are aiming at “gallinero”…

  8. The opposition should pounce on this opportunity to gain ground. They should put together a team of respected doctors and make public a statement that Chavez is being ill-advised by the Cubans and some Chavistas in his inner circle and that they want to spare his life so he is healthy to run in 2012. You can bet that their offer will not be taken. If Chavez dies, they will be able to say: “I told you about those Cubans and all those traitors within the PSUV”. If he doesn’t, their offer should not have any effect in the polls.

    • This is a good point. We need to start looking beyond Chavez and start making sure the PSUV “brand” is damaged goods. One way of doing it is by repeating to people that they are being lied to, or that Chavez’s health problems are the result of treason inside the PSUV. Whatever sticks.

  9. These guys said absolutely nothing of medical relevance, gave no new information, and repeated the party line. That’s what I thought.
    And then you made me notice that they also slipped a lie at the start.

    Jalabola want a cracker, Jalabola want a cracker!

    These “doctors” (if they are actually that) engaged in a propaganda exercise that could be performed by anyone of sufficient acting ability and able to wear a lab coat.

    • No es fácil llevar una bata de esa cuando hay un calorón y no hay aire acondicionado.

      But seriously: I was also puzzled by that “no psychiatric treatment ever”. Actually, he could be right: Chirinos and others may have met him several times and no formal psychiatric treatment took place…but Chávez is definitely loco de perinolas.

      In any case, I think the alternative forces must play to whatever it is: force Chávez to move across Venezuela or own up what he has. If he is “cured”, then force him to become more physical and ask when the next magnicidio announcements are going to come…of course, no candidate can say that explicitly, but we can ask that through tweeter, through rumours everywhere in Venezuela

      • If he is “cured”, then force him to become more physical

        I like it! A friendly softball game with the opposition perhaps? All proceeds going to the Mssion of ones choice?

          • I found their statement that he has never received psychiatric treatment alarming and scandalous. How could he not be on something?! It’s clear the man needs some help!

            • Him not getting any psychiatric treatment explains a lot of things. Only a crazy dude could have taken the country to where is right now.

  10. “Honestly, I didn’t buy the rumors that Chávez’s cancer treatment was going badly…until I heard the denial”

    Agreed 100%, I´ve had my doubts, but the denial was so improvised and desperate that it leads me to believe that GI Java the Joe REALLY IS SICK…

    Let´s hope so…

  11. When I saw/heard the videos, last night, the first thought that came to mind was: No wonder Chávez is undergoing Cuban medical care, if this is the quality of practitioners in his inner circle!

    The second thought was: Boy, they’re really scrambling to find an out. The cherry on the ice cream soda was the improvisation aspects of the microphones, as all four were scraped along and placed before each speaker, as he spoke – scratch, scratch, scratch.

    But the ‘performance’ that most interested me was that of Rafael Vargas, the oldest of the three ‘galenos’, the one with the rojo-rojito tie. Curious discrepancies arose through his denial tactics, aimed at dismissing Naverrete’s involvement with the “functioning team” of three doctors, appointed to serve the President in (March-April) 2002 by Vargas himself, a team that included Navarrete, and a team which Vargas admitted as having functioned. (“El equipo funcionó.”) Throughout, Vargas’ did a little slurring and tripping of words.

    I came across the video of Vargas at the end of the video of ‘centerfold’ Fidel Ramírez, as posted in the comment by ErneX on Miguel’s blog: http://tinyurl.com/3weh5rd.

    Too rich!

      • Plus. what’s with the retro, 1970s microphones? Particularly the bright yellow one. Cheesy, cheesy. I kept half-expecting Pekos Kanvas to emerge and belt out a tune, introduced by Amador and Miriam Ochoa.

  12. As a good friend put it on twitter:
    “Que sabe un internista, un oftalmologo y un traumatologo sobre sarcoma? Falto la opinión de un ginecólogo sobre la enfermedad de Chiabe'”

    None of these clowns is an oncologist… Kinda relevant, don´t you think! (?)

  13. Chávez did to this guys what the Venezuelan youth calls “sacar el culo” by getting his cancer treated almost entirely in Cuba by Cuban doctors, yet they still go out in public claiming that Chávez has an “inmejorable” health, which would be pretty much impossible for ANYONE, let alone for a guy that has just (supposedly) been cured from cancer.

    If anything this shows (yet again) how Chavistas will risk the little credibility they have to maintain the Mico’s lie about his illness. Also, as the little experience I have at my young age has taught me, everything they say turns to be the other way around in the end, so Chávez is pretty much screwed. I just hope he lives to lose an election.

    Doctors of the Hospital Militar, I dedicate this tune to you:

    • Makes me want to go out and buy a guitar-maybe I can be a rock singer after all.
      No seriously – I like the words I think I understand about
      “get out-you are just a liar” -couldn’t agree more with that!!
      (In the meantime I will keep practicing with my imaginary guitar and
      bugging my wife with my singing…)

  14. This is still not an official report on his current health. It is just a desperate denial of whatever Navarrete said. In fact, the psychiatric treament of 2001 is absolutely irrelevant at this point, so why bring it up?
    It’s just about image, once again. The show must go on.

  15. The whole point about the performance at issue is that it was far too late; Navarrete’s statements were cold by the time the performance was transmitted and, as others have pointed out, it had all the marks of having been hastily cobbled together after protracted meetings of the “What in Heaven’s name should we do?” variety. Characteristically, those things simply run on too long and often condemn the conclusion — in this instance, the performance — to be “too little, too late”.

    • Chavéz talking to Rafael Ramirez, Minister of Energy & President of PDVSA :

      – Rafael isn’t your brother a doctor? What’s his name?

      – Fidel my commander president.

      -? really? ha ha I always said Fidel was my doctor… Take him & my former minister of secretary who is also a doctor… what’s was his name? You!.. yes you… go and find out. what?.

      – Rafael Vargas my supreme commander of the armed forces.

      – What? Rafael! hah! just like you he’s your tocayo Rafael Vargas…. ok take your brother take your tocayo and whoever is the director of the military hospital and tell them to trash that Navarrete, gorilete, doctorcete…. Now. who let him go? … 30 years at least!….

  16. Those around here wondering if “El Pueblo” will believe this or not are missing the point. The whole thing isn’t comparable to lying about GDP growth or murder rates or inflation. It is comparable to a man about to jump off the top of the Empire State Building, insisting that the whole “Gravity” thing is an invention of the oligarchic media trying to oppress the poor. It doesn’t matter how many people believe him or not because in about 50 seconds the universe will point a mocking finger at the shapeless blob of flesh and blood on the ground and say “ha ha!” like Nelson from The Simpsons.

    If El Mico Mandante is really dying, then at some point in the very near future it will become an unavoidable truth no matter how hard they try to hide it.

  17. Last night, CBS-TV aired a fascinating interview with Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer. Isaacson said that Jobs used “magical thinking” while sick with prostate cancer, to try to wish the illness away. This approach had worked for Jobs in the past, said Isaacson.

    That made me think: If someone like Steve Jobs deluded himself into thinking “I’m cured” after only following a macrobiotic diet, what can we expect of Chiabe? It’s not just the chronic lying, it’s also trying desperately to get rid of cancer by just declaring yourself cured, healthy, “inmejorable.” Is that what’s happening?

  18. Chavez last night:

    “He dicho la verdad sobre mi enfermedad, me siento curado y los exámenes que me hicieron revelaron que pasamos la página y ahora habrá que tener cuidado de que no reaparezca la enfermedad”

    That, “me siento curado” part… Wow… The truth is he FEELS cured. Interesting stuff.

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