"I am immensely grateful for the numerous and enthusiastic expressions of solidarity received from the Venezuelan people and other fellow peoples, as well as from Heads of State and Government of numerous countries around the world, convinced that all that love, all that solidarity, are the loftiest energy which drives and will drive my willingness to vanquish in this new battle that life has put in front of me"
President Hugo Chávez's address to the Venezuelan people
"I put my hope on time. Its huge womb holds more hopes than past events, and future events shall be superior to the past ones." Simón Bolívar.
Time and its pace; time and its mandates; time and its designs, as noted in Ecclesiastes, makes me read this communiqué over to the Venezuelan nation and international public opinion, for they are waiting to learn about my health progress as several weeks ago it started showing deterioration.
After our superb tour of Brazil and Ecuador, between the fifth and seventh days of last June, we arrived in the always supportive Cuba to complete the tour with the wrap-up and signing of new cooperation agreements. I must admit that, as for my health, I just planned to make me check my left knee, almost recovered from an injury beginning May.
Throughout my life, I have been making one of those mistakes that could perfectly fit in a category that some philosopher called fundamental errors -neglecting my health and being reluctant to get checkups and medical treatments. What a fundamental error indeed! Particularly in a revolutionary with some humble responsibilities such as the ones entrusted to me by the revolution more than 30 years ago.
Notwithstanding, in Havana, on Wednesday evening, June 8, here we were again with Fidel, with such a giant who has gone beyond all times and places. Surely, it was not difficult for Fidel to note some discomfort, in addition to my left knee that I had been trying to conceal for several weeks. He queried me almost like a doctor; I made my confession almost like a patient. On that same night, the whole medical breakthrough achieved by the Cuban revolution for the sake of its people and for most of the world was made available to us and a set of diagnostic tests started.
Hence, a foreign mass in the pelvic area was found, leading to an emergency surgery in the face of the impending risk of widespread infection. That was on Saturday, June 11, very early in the morning, some hours before the address read over to the country and the world, giving rise to many expressions of solidarity, which do not stop moving me every single moment.
After that surgery which initially succeeded in draining the abscess, an intensive antibiotic treatment started with a positive assessment, I mean, positive progression, which brought along notable improvement. Nevertheless, despite the overall favorable progress, throughout the process of drainages and cures, some suspected additional cell masses thus far undetected would arise.
Therefore, another set of special cytochemical, cytological, microbiological and anatomical pathology studies was conducted and confirmed the existence of an abscessed tumor with cancerous cells. This made a second surgery necessary which allowed to fully removing said tumor. It was a major surgery without complications. After that, I have continued evolving satisfactorily, whereas I receive supplementary treatments to fight the various cells found and thus keep on the way of my full recovery.
In the meantime, I have kept and keep informed and in command of the actions of the Bolivarian government, in touch with the Vice-President, comrade Elías Jaua, and all my government staff.
I am immensely grateful for the numerous and enthusiastic expressions of solidarity received from the Venezuelan people and other fellow peoples, as well as from Heads of State and Government of numerous countries around the world, convinced that all that love, all that solidarity, are the loftiest energy which drives and will drive my willingness to vanquish in this new battle that life has put in front of me. And I am especially grateful to the Cuban people, the Cuban nation, Fidel, Raúl, all that medical legion who has been in the front of this battle in a really sublime way.
However, I have been keenly aware of some degree of anguish and uncertainty that has been overwhelming throughout these days, these nights, the soul and body of the Venezuelan nation. I think that beyond the manipulating attempts of some well-known sectors, such feelings were and they are unavoidable and form part of the very human nature, which nature is also surrounded by its circumstances and many times shaken off as in this case.
From the very beginning, I took on every responsibility concerning strict care of the veracity of the information to be delivered, based on a twofold set of reasons -firstly, the medical-scientific reason and secondly, and with utmost, special care from the bottom of my soul and conscience, the human reason, the loving reason, to be more precise. The loving reason.
We have talked somewhat about the first one. It has been a slow and careful process of approaches and diagnoses, advances and discoveries throughout several stages, where a rigorous scientific procedure has been applied, which procedure admits neither haste nor pressure whatsoever. The supreme rule which governs this mighty reason is full scientific verification beyond any indications and suspicions that might emerge.
As regards the loving reason, I feel obliged now to speak to you from deep inside myself. At this moment, I can remember February 4 of that thunderous year 1992. That day, I got no choice but to address myself to Venezuela from my decline, from a road that I felt like leading me to a bottomless abyss. From sort of a dark cavern of my soul, the "for now" emerged; afterwards, I plunged.
Also, those ill-fated hours of April 11, 2002 come to my memory right now. Then, I also sent to my beloved Venezuelan people that message written from the naval base of Turiamo, where I was held prisoner, a toppled president made prisoner. It was like a painful chant from the bottom of another abyss which I felt like swelling me in its throat and sinking me, and it sank me.
Again, at this new time of troubles and above all, since the very Fidel Castro, the same one of Moncada Quarter, the same one of the Granma, the same one of Sierra Maestra, the everlasting giant, came to give me the tough news of the cancerous finding, I started begging my Lord Jesus; my parents' God, as Simón Bolívar would say; the Virgin's gown, as my mother Elena would say; the savannah spirits, as Florentino Coronado would say, for them to give me the possibility of speaking to you, not from an abyss or a dark cavern or a night without stars. I wanted to speak to you with the sun of the dawn that I feel rising. I think we have achieved it, thank God.
And finally, my beloved fellow countrymen and countrywomen; my beloved daughters and sons; my dear comrades; young people, boys and girls of my people; my dear patriotic women; my people, all and only one in my heart, I tell you that wanting to speak to you today as I prepare once again to return has nothing to do with myself but with you, patriotic people, good people, with you.
I did not want and do not want you at all to join me on any path leading to any abyss whatsoever. I urge you to continue together, climbing up to new summits, "for there are cherries over there, on the hill and a beautiful song to be sung," as the people's singer, our dear Alí Primera, keeps on telling us from his eternity.
Let us go, then, with our Father Bolívar, in the vanguard, to continue climbing up to the summit, Chimborazo! Thank God; thank you my people; thank you my life. Until victory always! We will win! Havana, this beloved and heroic Havana, on June 30, 2011.
I tell you from the great homeland, from my heart, from my whole soul, from my supreme hope which is the hope of the people, now and forever. We will live and win. Thank you very much. Until my return.
Hugo Chávez Frías
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
30 June 2011
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.