33 thoughts on “Lesionology 101

  1. Well worth reading, Juan. Thank you for broaching this health/politics topic with an open mind.

    Interesting bit about the constitutional effects of Chávez’s deemed incapacity, as well as the constant need for the oppo to be skating around “what if’s”.

    Is that chávez’s strategy? Keep ’em off keel with information vacuums and storyline tidbits.

    While I believe there’s some severe, physical ailment that’s affecting Chávez, I continue to puzzle over his strong voice. That would lead me to think that Chávez’s demise — physical or political — is not that soon on the horizon.

    P.S. I didn’t see any distressed look on Chávez’s daughter’s face.


  2. I just had a horrible thought: I’m reading everywhere that the revolution will continue and that Chavez will continue in powere even after dead.
    Are they planning to make something like a venezuelan Kim Il Sung?
    Oh geez, I’m going to have nightmares tonight.


  3. Official opposition message: we will make Venezuela better!

    Message from people not directly connected with the campaign: “Why vote for Chavez? He won’t be well enough to govern, anyway.”


    • Probably the best reason for the opposition to maintain and refine its current message on proposals for change, and not to mention Chavez during the campaign: at the end, Capriles might not even be running against him.


    • For long, Chavez has proposed that without him, Venezuela would spiral into civil war and Chaos. Now we can play the same card and say that if so, then the best thing he can do is to retire silently into oblivion and help the transition be as peaceful as possible, even if its through his own successor.
      A simple message could be spread: maybe he shouldn’t be running at all. If he does, is because he is being reckless. Now the safer option is to keep him out of Miraflores; if you want peace and stability, vote for Radoski.
      If I were a political scientist, I will pull out a poll to see if this argument has any chances to switch the ni-nis and some light chavistas to our camp. This people are our target, we must understand what they want and what has to happen for them to change their minds.
      This is how we should decided how we play all our cards, never mind our own base or the
      fanatics on the other side, but what the middle wants to hear.


      • Exactly! Why has the opposition to play right into the man’s megalomania?

        Yeah, we play right into it. He’s the one saying he should run at all costs and govern until death, not us! He’s the one micromanaging and then gambling with Venezuela’s future. Sick? Retire!

        Say it already! If someone loves Venezuela at all, he would have delegated better and to a much better team. If a person loves Venezuela, this guessing game would not be going at all.
        We even pick up the insulting names he chooses for us and our representatives!


  4. I liked the analysis, but I disagree with the last sentence. 

    “This was the last thing the opposition needed”

    The opposition now has a national organization validated at the polls with a clear leader and a well structured political support that has found a way to make decisions. We should be ready to take on the challenges of uncertainty. If we are ready to govern, then now is the time to show it. 

    Perhaps this is the first thing the opposition needed: a significant crisis to manage. 


      • Over-dramatized it? After reading that we broke into tears, tore our garments, put ashes on our heads and cried “the end is nigh”. Don’t ever do that again.


      • The problem with your last statement, Juan, is that it doesn’t give enough credibility to oppo pols, nor to the rank and the file. it’s as though you want to convey that we will be discussing this cancer issue for weeks on end.

        The reality is, most Venezuelans live in a ‘pajarito’ world. Up pops one and we go after it. Up pops another, and we drop the first and chase the second. And so it goes. If this modus operandi were otherwise, if we were suizos, these blogs and the comments within would be very static, indeed. And that certainly is not the case.

        So yes, I think you’ve over-dramatized the situation a bit. I think the oppo pols know exactly what they’re doing. In Aveledo et al I trust.


  5. About the recent article by Nagel, I disagree on the constitutional ambiguity regarding a possible incapacity of the President, if he becomes incapacitated there are some constitutional procedures to follow I invite you to read the art 233 of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

    I think the problem of a possible physical incapacity goes beyond the constitution as we all know, there’s an enormous gap between what is written on the Constitution and the actual [mis]interpretation the Government and the Public Powers make of it.

    I honestly dont think this will cast a shadow on the opposition momentum it cast a shadow on the future of the country that lies in a path of uncertainty.


  6. So,
    let’s talk about how Capriles’ team can increase industrial and agricultural production.
    I hear from humble orange and maize farmers they are having a horrible time.
    What about the job problem in El Tigre or Acarigua? How can jobs be created in one, two years time?
    I know, this is VERY OFF-TOPIC…or is it no?


    • I think you are right, Kepler, it is time to concentrate on solutions, making clear why to vote for Capriles. The uncertainty about Chávez could last for a long time. Maybe he stay as candidate, maybe not. Opposition could not stop here and wait until there is certainty.


    • The first step, in my humble opinion, is to eliminate the “inamovilidad laboral” or in English, the inability to fire an employee. Currently one cannot let any employees go without cause. An employee, in order to get fired today, would have to murder someone at work, in full view of a camera that fully captured his/her face, and then wave the weapon around until the police got there. And even then, the labor ministry might still ask the employer if it is really necessary to let the person go.

      This is a huge stumbling block when it comes time to operate a business. You can get around this by hiring people as contract workers, but that only goes so far. What you get is folks working very well when they are contract workers, hoping to slot into permanent positions, then easing up once they are made permanent and they know it is very hard, if not impossible, to get fired.

      Although it would seem counter-intuitive, eliminating this inamovilidad would free businesses to size themselves correctly, return to profitability and then be able to invest for expansion and job creation.


  7. Bottom line:

    “Chávez’s announcement is an unwelcome complication — both for the president and his opponents. The opposition’s message was starting to gain its footing, but now Chávez’s cancer is sure to dominate the conversation. This was the last thing the opposition needed. “


  8. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/venezuelas-hugo-chavez-faces-an-uprising-at-the-ballot-box/2012/02/17/gIQAfApFOR_print.html

    Once the dimension of what is actually underway filters through, it is feasible that the implosion mentioned in the Washington post piece above could get underway, probably sooner rather than later. I’d have opined that it would be in the form of a slow-motion collapse as matters gather momentum, not to speak of the impact of sundry mishaps such as the latest one (What! Again?) at the Cat Cracker at Cardon which is responsible for some 30,000bbd of gasoline. A few more bridges, the ongoing La Guaira autopista etc etc are all aggravating possibilities. There are some desperate individuals in senior posts in Venezuela who, if the push looks like coming to the shove, will weigh their options elsewhere and find few, if any. That alone would constitute a powder-keg in the downtown area.

    Then, the opposition, under unpredictable pressures from all sides, will be obliged to configure itself to stay cohesive in restless times and try to insist on the elections — now, favorable to them — being held at all.


  9. Revolutions are like Cronus, they devour their children. The sickness of Chavez might simply stimulate the infighting that already exists within the multiple fractions of Chavez supporters. If Chavez becomes incapable of keeping them in check, the present political and social instability could spin down into further chaos. If this happens I would bet on a system meltdown, with one or more hotheads deciding they do not want to play anymore and “kick the chessboard” … Just a thought…


  10. Decide whether he’s a cancer victim, or really a candidate for President of Venezuelans.

    If he is the first thing, he is not a valid candidate, nohow and should retire as of yesterday.

    If he is the second thing, he is no victim and can take it all, hard and fast.

    Pose the question to the guy, one or the other.

    And don’t play into his megalomania. He’s just a man, should he be unable, choose another, PSUV!

    WE are worried about the thousands of Venezuelans who are sick and poor, unlike Hugo, who gets the best treatment money can buy. WE are worried about the thousands of healthy Venezuelans whose life is cut short by criminality, unlike Hugo and his many bodyguards. WE are worried about Venezuelans who cannot eke out a living with what they earn, and about Venezuelans who are unemployed…

    WE have a lot to worry about, to satisfy some power-tripping maniac. Venezuela has a lot of problems as is, and that guy is responsible. If he, furthermore, is sub-par even in basic health, then go!


  11. Loroferoz, If recent history is anything to go by, such impeccable logic has no place in this setting. They even say that there’s a little crate at Maiquetía immigration, marked “LEFT LOGIC STATION: Incoming passengers should deposit their logic here; it is of no use in the country and may confuse. It can be picked on departure”.


    • Then make it a more friendly question…

      Then suggest it, rather. Then change topic immediately with a really good follow, like “we are worried and sleepless about…”, let his family and fanatics worry about his health, Venezuelans are being killed right now because of his failures.


  12. Dear Juan:
    Have no fear, it’s not a challenge but an opportunity.

    Capriles has been dealing with Chavez all along with a grace befitting the whole situation regardless of Chavez’s personal plumbng.

    Capriles is a real leader. Judging by the fears and proposals I see here, he’s ‘way ahead of even his own supporters. Weeks ago he said he wished the President a long life so he too could enjoy his country’s future progress. He thus gently changed the subject from disease to the notion of inclusion.

    His message is perfect: No revenge. El Presidente is not evil – just inept. Let’s move forward and fix things together – everyone including the PSUV’s half of the nation.

    This was Obama’s political promise [entirely fake, but he fooled me, too]. I believe Capriles will hold to the promise because he carries it in his bones. I wish he were running for POTUS.

    Is it a calculated lie? Not from a guy whom Chavistas jailed ten years ago for STOPPING an anti-Cuban riot.

    With My Best Regards to Katy,




  13. The Chavistas might be able to pull off the transition of power without openly falling out or recurring to violence.None of the parties can be seen to be in any way against Chavez’s will and if he is able to anoint a successor at an appropriate time bloodshed may be avoided.This is not to say that the factions won’t be jockeying for position behind the scenes and competing for Chavez’s blessing.


  14. Dear Juan and other readers,

    I would like an explanation for the following statement (which I read in the article that is posted here): “…a power vacuum that could spur extremists in the military to make a grab for power”

    I don’t understand this assumption since I honestly haven’t heard/read anything before (both foreign and Venezuela news) about the slight possibility of a military dictatorship in the country (independent from Chavez).

    Does the journalist who wrote the article have ANY foundation to say this? Or is it a mere source-less (and panicky) opinion?


    • No, it’s not source-less, you hear about this time and again. There are extremists in the Venezuelan military from both sides of the ideological divide, and if they sense a power vacuum, they could see it as a way of preserving their rights and/or regaining them for, you know, “el bien de la patria.”

      And if you think there is no slight possibility of a military dictatorship in the country, then … we’re talking about two different countries. In Venezuela, there is *always* the possibility of a military dictatorship.


      • Actually Marcela you could read this article http://www.analitica.com/va/politica/opinion/8881287.asp

        A militar coup is one of the possibles ends that Venezuela could face in the near future. I’ll be truly careful to think that to be poised to happen, the game for the power in Venezuela is more complex that we might think or see and right now we’re all in the middle of a sinister and tense game.

        One thing is for sure the elites of the chavismo are about to break with or without Chavez alive many of that people is not there for the bolivarian cause and that division inside the chavismo is one of the best cards the renewed and unified opposition can play.


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