Chavez death watch intensifies
Chavez undergoes tracheotomy; complications multiply; situation "grave"
Once again, the Spanish newspaper ABC provides an update on Hugo Chavez. Here is a summary of the grim report.
* The surgery involved removing a cancerous growth from the lower portion of his spinal column and the pelvic region.
* On Wednesday December 19, his doctors had to perform a tracheotomy
* Chavez is on a respirator, has fluid in his lungs, and continues to struggle against a pulmonary infection.
* His kidneys have begun to falter, due to all of the steroids he has taken over the past few months.
* He is not responding well to antibiotics, and doctors fear that his condition is becoming extremely unstable.
* Vice President Nicolas Maduro has summoned several government officials to Havana, including Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly -- a man who had heretofore refused to set foot in Castrolandia.
* A constitutional crisis is brewing over Chavez's condition. Maduro, Cabello, and the other Chavistas in Havana are apparently discussing how to proceed if Chavez continues to deteriorate. At issue is article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution, which concerns the president's "absolute absence" (falta absoluta). According to this article, a medical panel designated by the Supreme Court and approved by the National Assembly has the power to declare "falta absoluta" in case of the president's death or of a "permanent physical or mental disability."
* If a "falta absoluta" is declared before Chavez's upcoming inauguration on January 10, a new presidential election will have to be held within the next thirty days. In the interim, Diosdado Cabello would run the country as president of the National Assembly. Chavez has named Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his successor, but in the case of a "falta absoluta" this means he would have to run for president as the PSUV party candidate -- and be elected -- in order to assume the country's top post.
* Venezuela's top military leaders have been exchanging communications in which they take it for granted that Chavez's decline is irreversible.
* As death looms ever closer, Chavez is wrapped all the more tightly into a sanctimonious religious matrix. His elevation to sainthood is well under way, a process set in motion by the dictator himself, but now intensified by his grieving lackeys and admirers. Prayer vigils for Chavez continue to be held throughout Latin America. In the photo below, from Managua, Nicaragua, a young girl proudly displays a poster from such an event, in which Chavez is quoted as saying: "Let no one be sad. There is no room for sadness. We are happiness. We are faith. We are hope. Who ever said our journey would be easy? It is the way of Christ."
Entire report HERE, in Spanish.