Jorge D. Bernal (@JorgeBernal) February 22, 2013
Venezuela’s vice president caused a stir Thursday night by saying that an announcement on president Hugo Chavez’s health would be made at 9 p.m.
Sounds big, especially since Chavez recently returned to Venezuela. However, when 9 o’clock rolled around, there was not much to report. Chavez is still having “breathing problems” and things have “not been favorable.”
Venezuela government communique says President Hugo Chavez still suffering breathing difficulties, tendency has "not been favorable".—
@ReutersVzla (@ReutersVzla) February 22, 2013
This sounds like another non-statement that doesn’t actually disclose anything about the ailing dictator. However, the fact that he is back in the country and doesn’t seem to be getting better is an ominous sign — and for state television to admit that his health is unfavorable is unusual.
Here’s some Spanish language reaction (which we ran through a translation program). Rumors are flying around about Chavez possibly being paraplegic according to the opinion of a doctor in Florida, but there’s nothing official on that.
“Hugo Chávez would be paraplegic, according to doctor @marquina04″
Hugo Chavez esta totalmente parapléjico según Dr Marquina!—
Nelson Galvis (@galvis60) February 22, 2013
“Hugo Chavez is completely paraplegic according to Dr Marquina!”
“Very sad that thing about Hugo #Chavez … And sadder as they are using it those who want to steal the POWER from themselves in #Venezuela”
“With the last medical report it is possible to deduce that Hugo Chávez went so far as to #Venezuela to wait his last days.”
“‘The Venezuelan president stays grasped to crucifix’: Villegas”
(Editor’s note: Ernesto Villegas is the minister who made the announcement. That language doesn’t sound terribly encouraging.)
“According to newspaper ABC the doctors of Hugo Chàvez have considered to be ‘useless’ to continue with the treatment.”
Mi señor Jesucristo ruego ayudes a Hugo Chávez, quien más q un presidente, es un hermano del pueblo, a superar la enfermedad… amén—
Iriana Rojas (@rojasib03) February 22, 2013
“My lord Jesus Christ I request help Hugo Chávez, who more than a president, is a brother of the people, to overcome the illness … amen”
“if instead of his name was Hugo Chavez was Carlos A Pérez: would you believe an illness and evolution as secret as this? I doubt”
Whatever happens, it will certainly be interesting to see if there are more of these “announcements.” It’s starting to look pretty grim, but the Venezuelan authorities clearly don’t want to give out a whole lot of information.