Hugo Chavez’s weeklong silence spurs uncertainty

CARACAS, Apr 22: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been out of sight for a week, speaking only through Twitter messages and written statements while undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba.
The lack of any appearances on television has left Venezuelans wondering about what his unusual silence might say about his struggle with cancer, and whether Chavez may be coping with a particularly tough phase of radiation therapy.
More than 30 messages have appeared on Chavez’s Twitter account since he left for Cuba on April 14. He has cheered on supporters with slogans such as “Let’s continue building socialism!”
In others, he has praised his military commanders, announced funding for local governments and vowed to survive and win re-election in October. But he has seldom mentioned his cancer treatment.
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello reiterated on Friday that Chavez is expected to return to Venezuela soon.
“God willing, next week he’ll be here again with us once he has finished the treatment,” Cabello said in a televised speech.
He insisted that even when Chavez is away in Cuba, “he leads just the same as if he were here in Venezuela.”
“The commander’s presence here isn’t necessary, because just the same he’s the commander of the revolution,” Cabello said.
But even some of Chavez’s supporters have been saying recently that they wonder what’s going on with his health.
“It makes me sad, but my Comandante must not be as well as they say,” said Guillermo Suarez, a street vendor selling sunglasses. “It’s already been many days that we haven’t seen him, heard him.” (AGENCIES)


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