Friday, February 15, 2013

When a thousand words may be better than a picture: Chavez in bed

UPDATED 1 and 2
What to do with the proof of life the regime offered today?

Smiling reading Granma?  Must be the comics page.....
So apparently Chavez is alive. The husband of one of the two girls above, also minister of science and technology for which he has, as far as I know no qualifications other than talk show host on state TV, brought them back from Havana. The Granma is of Thursday 14 February, according to Spain's ABC (I could not open the Granma page to check out myself).

So many things are wrong with that picture and the announcement of Arreaza today in cadena that it inspired me for the title: maybe they would have been better off not showing these pictures.

Let's start with the picture that I picked up to put above. Why read Granma? Are they so Cuban controlled that in spite of an aerial bridge between Havana and Caracas they could not have brought, say, a VEA, or even an Ultimas Noticias, the newspaper more read by chavistas? Who'd have cared if it had been a day or two older...

Now, the patient. Well, he certainly is alive but he is bloated beyond recognition (and I picked the one he looks best!). We certainly can see for ourselves that the guy is barely alive. And probably wears make up for these pictures. As for his general fitness that he needs a neck pillow to lift his head, well.......

Without having heard the cadena (I am at work, after all, not always worrying about Chavez) just from these pictures I know that the man is unable to rule the country, to make important decisions and all that the regime has done these past few weeks is probably without his knowledge or authorization (though it is quite likely he will give it post facto). Though I suppose that since he can hold a newspaper he may be able to sign a few papers, though I bet you not with the firm red ink signature that Maduro and Giordani have shown on TV....

I did not see the cadena where Villegas (and Arreaza?) talked, but there is enough already up in the net to understand that the cadena really did not help much the chavista cause. They admitted that indeed Chavez has suffered a tracheotomy and that he can barely speak, which contradicts many of the statements of previous weeks with a Chavez joking and giving orders....  Amen of recognizing that some of the "medical conspiracy rumors" were true, after all.

Clearly the pressure, international or local (like the students protests of yesterday), have finally forced the regime to start fessing up. And yet the only thing we can say for sure today is that indeed Chavez is not quite dead yet and he is not quite ready to return alive yet. Reviewing my electoral post of yesterday, now it seems that there will be no elections until June at the earliest and that the precipitated devaluation had no other objective but to give some extra cash, in bolivares, to the regime to pay internal debt and keep people happy. And, why not, they may still think he will come back healed....

PS: for kicks go to #Chavezing on Twitter to see personal interpretations of the picture of Chavez reading Granma today....

Update 1: gee, minutes after I posted....

There is already a flurry of stuff in tweeter about those pictures being fake, and even Island reader already chimed on that.

I will advance that
1) already in this entry my comments indicate that the pictures look quite bad by themselves so in a way there is no need to worry about how fake they are: they are a disservice to chavismo;
2) there are more than one pictures; falsifying a series of pictures is not done in general because it simply gives more chance for the fraud to be detected; and
3) as for the bloatedness of Chavez. I am no doctor but that Chavez lost x pounds does not mean that in a couple of weeks he may not get bloated again. Gaining weight is gaining muscle and fat, being bloated with water retention can give you a few pounds in a few days just through electrolytes in your veins.... Granted, it adds to the doubt on the pictures but it is not enough by itself. After all, the weight loss was a rumor, a good one maybe but a rumor nevertheless.

My usual advice: conspiracy theories flow freely around Chavez but there is no need to take all of them at face value. Let's wait and let the professionals take a look at these pictures which they surely will do shortly.

Update 2: well, I do not know how much the staging cost but it seems that the little happening today backfired. A lot of people are not impressed, doubt the truthfulness of the picture for very valid reasons, doubt even more the accompanying comments.  In short, it reeks of improvised counter-counter-propaganda.  The lone theme that emerges is that Chavez is clearly unable to rule and that all the tales of Jaua and Maduro joking with Chavez and dealing with matters of state are simply untrue. You cannot decide properly the devaluation of a country when you need a head cushion to look and listen at your interlocutor.



  1. Island Canuck1:54 PM

    The photo is a from before the operation in December.
    He is bloated in this picture where anyone who has spent 2 months in IC would not look like this. Forget the 2 kilos of makeup.

    On close inspection you can see that the newspaper has been added to the photo with someone else's hand. Total fantasy probably in reaction to the students at the Cuban Embassy demanding proof of life.

    They are now running scared. As from your previous posts watch for further developments in the near future. They are just buying time.

    As someone said these photos are not for us, they are for the true believers so they won't lose faith.

    1. You forced me to put an update....

  2. Island Canuck3:03 PM

    Where is there any evidence in any of the photos of the tracheotomy tube?
    These photos were not taken yesterday.

    1. I have had two tracheotomy patients in my life. The way the jacket is placed it can hide the evidence. However the rictus may indicate that he is not breathing through his mouth. Look at the smiles, it looks frigid and dry, like the patients I know with that disease. They stop using their mouth......

    2. I think the pictures are probably real for the sole reason that they don't really help the Chavistacons at all.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Based on these photos, which may have been taken prior to Ch.'s operation, the Feb 14/13 Granma edition photoshopped subsequently, I doubt that Ch can get up and into a wheelchair. Therefore, I find it insulting that Maduro is trying to stuff us full of sausage meat with the story of Ch. signing papers. There's no way that Ch's can sign from this position, after what he's been through, without that signature being compromised by strength and firmness. Idiotic.

  5. I have experience with this kind of situations:
    1- The edema is a function of his complicated course resulting in multi-organ dysfunction and malnourished state. the picture is good at hiding his overall muscle mass status a sign of how bad he may actually be. If I had to guess likely Acute renal failure or severe dysfunction of his liver related to post-op infections.
    2- The neck and cloth are placed in such a matter that it would be very easy to hide a tracheostomy site.
    3- The most concerning part of this picture is that someone around Chavez owns a first generation Ipod. That is the most clear evidence of the potential validity of the pictures!!!

    1. NorkseDiv8:32 PM

      It's not a first Generation iPod, it's just an iPod classic. It appears to be an iPod classic fifth generation.

      To be fair, when a lot of people say 1st gen ipod they really mean any ipod that is not an iPod touch or nano, even though apple still sells the iPod classic. Agreed that it is not surprising Chavez uses the classic iPod, it has a simple interface, someone his age would be resistant to change.

  6. La VERRUGA, boss! La verruga!

    Adónde se fue??? Photochopeó quedó.

    1. El ponqué usado era hevi.

    2. Kidding aside. You can see the verruga in the other pictures.

  7. Allow me to cite myself. In today's entry I wrote:

    " And yet the only thing we can say for sure today is that indeed Chavez is not quite dead yet and he is not quite ready to return alive yet."

    Photoshop, make up and whatever discussions are fun but cannot bring more to that harsh reality: El Supremo is no wear near to resume office.

    That is why I think publishing these pictures was a mistake, no matter how much photoshop and make up may have been used.

  8. Anonymous4:50 PM

    From personal - and very painful - experience, I see these pictures as evidence of how close is Chávez of death, whenever they were taken. He cannot sit, his face shows the strain, he clearly has edema. Daniel you are right about the mouth, likely totally dry and in need of artificial moisture. Again, in my experience, Chávez had perhaps three weeks to live from the moment these pictures were taken.
    Also, what people do not usually talo in these cases, is the swift mental deterioration which accompanies other symptoms in the last weeks of life. In short, you are not dealing anymore with the person you uses to know, that person sinks deeper and deeper into dellusion. Even when you think they mame a bit of dense, they are probably not having the conversation you think you are having.
    Maduro, Cabello, the Castros, all lie. What I cannot understand, from a human point of core, however, is the contribution of Chávez's family to the lie. I guess money talks louder than blood and decency.

    1. I think the photo was not taken yesterday. Rather, I think the Granma paper was 'dropped' in the older image, before having its axis distorted to reflect the real substitute paper. All for appearances sake.

      Otherwise, I agree with you about the mental state of any patient with a serious illness/terminal disease. Patients are never their old selves. That's why Ch. signature on documents, as though he is signing them, is a farce. That's why Maduro and Jaua's statements that Ch. is involved in government decisions (and talking to his lieutenants about them) is a lie.

      Do the daughters know about the purpose of this image? Well they sure are aware of that now. As for their decency. Oh pull-eze. For starters, how about the major bling that Rosa Virginia wears on her finger, in a country where people risk their lives to get away.

    2. Anonymous7:37 AM

      Time to burn cuban flags....

  9. Anonymous8:40 PM

    You are remind me of those wingnuts who believe President Obama was not born in the U.S. In the face of evidence (in the form of a birth certificate), these people called it fake and became only more convinced they were right. It turns out now that Chavez is not dead; in fact, he appears to be doing exactly as Maduro and Villegas said. But of course, the opposition simply finds some way of pretending as though the photos confirm the government's lies!

    1. NorskeDiv10:27 PM

      Which exactly is that, walking talking joking, or intubated and assimilating his treatment? You need to get your story straight.

      Obama on the other hand never differed on being born in Hawaii.

    2. a**h**e anonymous just above

      i am sorry to tell you that you have problems understanding written english because if you understood my texts you would have never found ground to write what you wrote.

  10. Anonymous9:07 PM

    I think the pictures are real. No reason for me to doubt them. Clearly they are staged, and poorly at that. It does show how sick Chavez is and how much he has gone through. I am no fan of Chavez, but my inner decency feels sorry for what he is going through. Of course, it is of his own doing, as most patients would not have undergone that last surgery and would have lived their remaining days trying to enjoy the time left. Instead, he is now coming to an end in the worst possible conditions. Not all cancers are the same. Some you suffer more than others, and it seems Chavez has a cruel one.

    1. Charly11:28 PM

      The worst, Anon, is not that he has a cruel cancer, but that his twisted vision of patriotism is going down the drain. The poor asshole is ending up dying in a foreign country away from his family and his fans. What a pitiful end, Napoleon wasting away in St Helen forgotten by all. Serves him right.

  11. Anonymous10:29 PM

    Can we have the comments in a "less bold" font?

    1. no, it is default

    2. That's easy to change in the html template if you wanted to.

    3. Earlier reply missing?

      You can change the default to what you like in the html template, italic red if you want.

    4. 1) posts after 24hours have their comments send to moderation. Many reasons for that.

      2) my htlm knowledge is limited and I have barely enough time to write as it is. Just to keep the site has it is troubles me enough :(

  12. What ever happened to the Supreme Court judges that were whisked to Miami by DEA?

  13. no, it is default
    Mans inhumanity to man wrapped up in one hilarious bon mot.

  14. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Video-curso cedido por la Embajada de Cuba en Venezuela - Pásalo!!! …

  15. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Cliver Alcalá rodeado por 200 pemones y completamente cagáo !!!!

  16. Anonymous11:24 PM

    En esta foto y las otras, lo chocante es la risa de las amantisimas hijas del enfermo, es su padre que lucha contra la muerte, que sean verdaderas las fotos es muy malo de parte de las susodichas, y si son lo que parecen, falsas, es una ofensa hacia el Presidente y hacia todos los venezolanos. La Maga Lee


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