Initial Report Suggests Venezuela’s Chavez in Good Health

An initial government statement reports that an operation on President Hugo Chavez on a lesion in the same area where he had a cancerous tumour removed last year, has been successful. Nevertheless, private media, using the recently leaked Stratfor emails, are announcing he has just one or two years to live.

By Tamara Pearson

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President Chavez last year (agencies)
President Chavez last year (agencies)
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Mérida, February 28th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – An initial government statement reports that an operation on President Hugo Chavez on a lesion in the same area where he had a cancerous tumour removed last year, has been successful. Nevertheless, private media, using the recently leaked Stratfor emails, are announcing he has just one or two years to live.

Vice-president Elias Jaua, while delivering his annual report today in the national assembly, read out a statement from the presidency, announcing that the operation “went according to plan, obtaining satisfactory results, President Chavez is in good physical condition”.

Jaua said there had been no complications. “The pelvic lesion was completely extracted, and the tissue surrounding the lesion was also removed, there were no complications related to nearby organs, [Chavez] is stable... and will recover adequately as he collaborates with post surgery rehabilitation”.

According to the statement, the president has ordered that the results of the surgery be made public, including the above information, and it’s expected that in the next few hours the histology studies (tissues and cells) will be available. These results will determine the best treatment for the lesion.

In the statement, Chavez expressed his gratitude for the messages and phone calls he had received from the Venezuelan people, as well as people and dignitaries from around the world. According to the coordinator of Chavez’s twitter account, @chavezcandanga, Chavez received 31,000 messages in the 24 hours following his initial announcement on 21 February of the need for a second operation.

According to the coordinator, Ysmel Serrano, the number is a “record for a twitter account, and I think at a global level”.

Chavez also thanked Fidel and Raul Castro and the Cuban people and “the team of health specialists who conducted the operation”.

Media distortions

Before and since Chavez announced the need to for the second operation, Venezuelan and international media have repeatedly announced, without evidence, that his “cancer has returned” and in some cases that it had spread.

Further, such news outlets also misrepresented yesterday’s Wikileaks leak, to claim that Chavez only had one to two years to live. Among the almost 300 files published so far by Wikileaks since yesterday from “strategic intelligence” company Stratfor, were emails written by Stratfor “analyst” Reva Bhalla about Venezuela.

In the emails, available in English here, and here, Bhalla falsely predicted that Pablo Perez would win the opposition primaries on February 12, which were in fact won by Capriles Radonsky by a large margin, and she also wrote that she has sources who are sure that Chavez has only one or two years left to live.

Numerous private media agencies however have taken her emails and attributed their content directly to Wikileaks, with elLatino.com headlining, “Wikileaks says that Chavez has two years of life left”, and CNN and Venezuela’s El Tiempo headlining, “Hugo Chavez has between one and two years of life, according to Wikileaks”.

Chavez was originally operated on for a cancerous tumour in June last year, and by October had announced his “full recovery”.

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