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Audio Alleging Hugo Chavez “Still Alive” Condemned by Venezuelan Government

Mérida, 30th September 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – An audio recording allegedly of the voice of late President Hugo Chavez affirming that he is “still alive” has been condemned by the Venezuelan government as a “disgusting montage”.

After a nearly two year battle with cancer Hugo Chavez’s death was announced by current President Nicolas Maduro on 5 March this year. Mourners were then permitted to pass by his open casket to pay their final respects before his funeral on 9 March.

On Friday an audio was uploaded to Sound Cloud titled “Chavez is Alive September 2013” which purports to be of the voice of the late president leaving a telephone message to his elder brother, Adán Chavez. It currently has over 300,000 hits on You Tube.

Venezuelan president Maduro has condemned the recording as the work of the right-wing opposition, suggesting that it was either recorded by an impersonator or technologically fabricated.

“A wave of repudiation against the right-wing that has offended the people’s feelings with the publication of a montage against Chavez”, he wrote on twitter on Sunday.

In the recording the voice claiming to be Chavez asks Adan, “Tell the guys that today, 16 September, I am more alive than ever”. The voice also says, “Who would have thought our enemy was within? How many hugs they gave me, how many handshakes and how many lies?”

Those uploading the audio claim that the recording shows that Hugo Chavez is “still alive” and somehow in hiding, having been “betrayed” by his political allies.

Unanimous condemnation

Government politicians have united in condemning the recording as a fake and claim that its author is Juan Jose Rendon, a political advisor to opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

President Maduro argued on Saturday that the aim of the recording was to “demoralise and break revolutionary unity ahead of the municipal elections next 8 December”.

“We need to denounce this before the world, so the world knows what level of immorality the right-wing possesses,” he added.

Some Venezuelan media have also speculated as to whether the recording is real, but is in fact from September 2011, just before Chavez went to Havana for chemotherapy treatment.

Hugo Chavez’s brother Adan Chavez, who is also a state governor, denied such speculations on Saturday, at the same time as criticising the alleged author of the audio.

“Following from this disgusting montage, some are thinking that Chavez didn’t die and is hidden; others believe it was a recording made before his physical disappearance [death]. It’s all a great lie, we laid Chavez to rest alongside the love of a loyal and revolutionary people, and he never sent me a message like that,” A. Chavez told supporters.

The late president’s brother continued, “If only Chavez was alive, we’d be the happiest on this earth; J.J. Rendon is perverse, a manipulator and a traitor to this country”.

Opposition stance

Several opposition figures have also publicly doubted the veracity of the recording; however claim that it could have been released by the government instead.

“I believe that this is a government strategy with the intention of distracting public opinion from Venezuela’s true problems…inflation [and] shortages in basic products,” said opposition lawmaker Alfonso Marquina to news channel NTN24.

Meanwhile Luis Vicente Leon, a political consultant considered to be favourable to the opposition, argued that for the government the recording “is an opportunity to blame the opposition of an attempt at destabilisation, with which they maintain a polarisation which benefits them”.

However in his speech on state channel VTV on Saturday, Nicolas Maduro reminded viewers that this would not be the first time the political opposition had impersonated Hugo Chavez’s voice. During the 1998 election campaign a recording was released claiming to be of the then presidential candidate stating he would “fry the heads” of his political opponents. Chavez won the election with 56% of the vote.

Published on Sep 30th 2013 at 4.39pm