From hyperbolic to hyperbaric and now on to hypermoribund
Lackeys, comrades-in-arms, and idolaters of Hugo Chavez are sounding grim and subdued today. Though their idol's surgery has been deemed a success, their words and their demeanor suggest otherwise. If they are daring to speak publicly about a "delicate" condition and openly display their grave concern, then chances are that the real prognosis is much worse. This is one way to prepare the way for a death announcement. And maybe the great Cardinal Ortega will be in charge of the last rites if Hugo fails to pull through.
Venezuela's Chavez in "delicate" condidtion after six-hour surgery
(Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in delicate condition after his latest surgery for cancer, the government said on Wednesday in a somber assessment that may indicate an end to his 14-year leadership of the South American OPEC nation.
Looking grave-faced in an address to the nation the day after Chavez's six-hour operation in Cuba, Vice President Nicolas Maduro urged Venezuelans to unite in prayer for the 58-year-old president and keep faith he would return soon.
"Yesterday's operation was complex, difficult and delicate, so the post-operation process will also be a complex and tough process," Maduro said, flanked by ministers who flew in to Caracas overnight after accompanying Chavez in Cuba.
Maduro spoke of "difficult" times ahead.
Chavez's downturn opens gaping uncertainty about the future of his self-styled socialist revolution in a nation of 29 million people with the world's largest oil reserves.
A frequent critic of the United States, Chavez has spearheaded a resurgence of the left in Latin America, galvanized a global "anti-imperialist" alliance from Iran to Belarus and led a decade-long push by developing nations for greater control over natural resources.
A close ally, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, told reporters in Quito that Chavez was doing all right. "He is fine, even though the surgery was complex," Correa said.
At home, he has won cult-like status among the poor with his charisma and oil-financed largesse from health clinics to free homes. But he has alienated business with frequent nationalizations and angered many Venezuelans by putting ideological crusades over basic services.
Maduro, whom Chavez has named as a preferred successor should he be incapacitated, offered no medical details but urged Venezuelans to stay hopeful.
Supporters have been holding prayer vigils, while opponents also sent Chavez best wishes for a successful recovery.
"We continue praying for this post-operation phase, where he must continue overcoming difficulties. May God give him strength," said priest Walter Nabea.
In a plaza near the center of Caracas, neighbors came to write well wishes for Chavez on a white cloth. But government officials appeared to be cautiously preparing the president's supporters for the worst.
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