All of the above, and then some, is making the rounds these days. All of it, as of writing this article, is mere conjecture, unsubstantiated gossip. Though that has not impeded rumours to flight. Even the Wall Street Journal has published that Chavez has prostate cancer (evidence?). Hugo Chavez's absence demonstrates a number of things:
- Venezuela is a dictatorship. When the leader of a democratic nation is taken ill, senior members of its administration provide timely information and updates about the situation. Similarly, in the case of prolonged absence as is the case with Chavez, constitutional mandates are followed and interim figures appointed. In Venezuela not one official has provided credible information about Hugo Chavez, the Vice President and Congress are yet to fulfil their constitutional roles.
- The Venezuelan caudillo is at the mercy, and under the absolute control of, the Cuban dictators. Hugo Chavez is in Cuba, accompanied, perhaps, by a few family members, (Cuban) security detail, and some confidants. Hugo Chavez did not arrive in Cuba commanding troops, or armies. His is a voluntary visit. Consequently, Chavez is under the absolute control of the Castros, who can effectively decide all matters of the Venezuelan State while Chavez convalesces in hospital. The Castros are managing the situation and flow of information as they see fit.
- The world's media does not have the slightest clue about Chavez's real condition. Despite all the talk of its powers, the MSM and the blogging community are on a equal footing when it comes to breaking any news out of Cuba about Chavez's illness.
- Free flow of information is non existent in Cuba.
- Hugo Chavez does not trust his own henchmen. Fearing leaks and lack of discipline, Chavez decided to move operations to Cuba, where the Castros exert a strict control on information and communications.
- Venezuela is at the mercy of a cadre of radical chavistas willing to push the country into civil war.
- Venezuela's army has become Hugo Chavez pretorian guard.
- Chavez's Twitter updates are made with a Blackberry. There's no Blackberry network in Cuba. Unless connected to a Wifi Chavez couldn't possibly have tweeted from Cuba. The way recent tweets are written suggests that someone else has gained access to his account.
- All bets are off as per subsequent scenarios. In my opinion, a Reservoir Dog type of ending, considering that chavismo is formed by different criminal groups vying for power, is entirely possible. The opposition, and the rest of Venezuelans, are mere spectators.