When we last heard from Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, he was declaiming: “It is absolutely necessary, absolutely essential, that I undergo a new surgical intervention.” Flanked by ashen-faced ministers, he added: “With God’s will, like on the previous occasions, we will come out of this victorious. I have complete faith in that.” And then he departed for Havana to avail himself of the best Cuban medicine had to offer.
Say what you will about Fidel Castro, one of the most vicious bastards of the Western world, Castro has never invoked God’s will to handle his case and he had the sense to hightail it to Spain for his own medical treatment.
Sources at the hospital in Cuba where he is being treated this week told a Spanish newspaper in an induced coma being kept alive by life support he was showing ‘very weak’ vital signs, adding that doctors could decide to switch off the machines ‘at any moment’.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro, whom Chavez last month designated as his heir apparent, said in an interview from Havana that Chavez had recognized the complexity of his post-operative condition.
Maduro said he was returning to Venezuela after several days visiting with Chavez and his relatives, which may quell rumors his trip to Cuba signaled the president was in his final days.
The president’s son-in-law and Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is in Havana, said via his Twitter account on Wednesday that the medical team told him Chavez’s condition ‘remains stable’ but that his health is still delicate.
‘Commander Chavez is fighting hard and he sends his love to the people. Dedication and patience!!!’ he tweeted.
I’ll believe it when we hear it from Chavez himself. In the meantime, I’m sticking with Weekend at Bernie’s.