Charismatic president Hugo Chavez, 58, died of respiratory complications caused by pelvic cancer on Tuesday evening in Venezuela.
Or did he?
The announcement of Chavez’s death came hours after vice president, and now interim president Nicolas Maduro, met with Venezuela’s top political leaders and military brass to discuss the president’s ever-worsening health condition. At the time, Maduro apparently suggested that someone may have deliberately infected Chavez with cancer or some other agent that made him deteriorate, according to CNN. Maduro went so far as to call Chavez’s death an assassination, according to The Washington Post..
Stories of Chavez being essentially poisoned by the CIA have been around since his first tumor was reported back in 2011. Even controversial drama-loving Chavez himself wondered out loud if it were possible. To which the U.S State Department public affairs staff responded with a “that’s reprehensible”. What else are they going to say? You caught us?
For the sake of argument, we can say Maduro said no such thing about Chavez. Does one actually get injected with cancer? I mean, even if you did, your immune system would have to already be compromised already. We have cancer cells floating in our bodies all the time. They get destroyed, hopefully, on a daily basis.
But since Chavez announced he was heading to Havana for cancer treatment, conspiracies of a U.S. involvement began immediately. Chavez egged them on, if not outright got them rolling.
For those who can understand Spanish, this video of Chavez talking to the military questioned whether the U.S. was infecting rival leaders in Latin America with cancer. He said he found it an odd coincidence that major leaders south of the border, from Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to Dilma Rousseff, his handpicked successor, to the president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, all got cancer around the same time. And now…it was Chavez’s turn.
“I find it very strange. It is hard to explain,” he says in the video.
Of course, most of this has fallen on deaf ears. Even the video itself got under 10,000 viewers. And Hugo Chavez is, since Lula left office, the most famous politician in Latin America. He”s far from an unknown. The conspiracy angle has not caught fire.
The death of Chavez did not really rally the left outside of his home base. In Latin America, Lula was seen as the more charismatic, if not more practical leader of South America. Chavez was a firebrand, stoking Cold War rhetoric with Washington. As Latin American politics goes, Chavez was the anti-American.
So it is not surprising that here at home, the harshest critics of good, old fashion Yankee imperialism came out Wednesday in notes circulating in email in-boxes nationwide that Chavez may have been the victim of a U.S. plot to get rid of him once and for all. And while the left in the United States send out Viva Chavez, Viva La Revolucion kudos to the most reviled leader in Washington other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the right wing, in their usual lust for kindness, is busy expression their sheer joy that the man is gone.
The Daily Caller wrote in an op ed by Christopher Bedford that “No, the U.S. didn’t kill Chavez. But we should have.”
Tea Party Republicans called him a tyrant, expressed relief that he was no longer a “force” to reckon with. Force quotes are mine, not his. Because, really, was Chavez a force to reckon with anywhere outside of Venezuela?
Meanwhile, there is a relative calm in Venezuela according to press reports and investment sources on the ground in Caracas. The market expects Maduro to be elected within 30 days.
Unless the CIA gives him cancer.