Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) of Tuesday, February 5
FEBRUARY 4. On Tuesday, February 4, Venezuela's Vice-President Nicolás Maduro was honored and requested permission as if he were the commander in chief of the armed forces. Nevertheless, Lieutenant Diosdado Cabello, the National Assembly Speaker, addressed himself to military officers, Chávez's armed followers. He said that they are his armed forces, perhaps limiting himself to the troops. He urged dissenters again to stop threatening the army; otherwise, the reply would be emphatic. I did not listen to Vice-President Nicolás Maduro say what he always says every time he threatens the oligarchy and the unpatriotic rightwing, in the sense that it will be "with the Constitution in the hands." There were repetitive, slack pieces of speech. Even worse, they were loaded with hatred, violence and belligerence. It does not contribute at all to the country union in hard times that demand reconciliation and magnanimity. The wording of the upcoming candidate this same year, in the first half, before the municipal election, was wounding and offensive. Yesterday (Monday 4), both of them with one voice recommended the patient in Havana to take his time to get well. One day, they say that he will come back soon; another day, they argue that he is recovering and needs additional time. They cover the unknown factor and their fears with threats. Internal repression escalates in reply to the criticism made by serious red leaders. The procession continues...
REPORT. Ex Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva's closeness to the doctors who treated his throat cancer in the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital at Sao Paolo allowed him to add four of them two years ago to the medical advisory team of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez –two of them in visits to Cuba and Venezuela, and the other two from the hospital, via teleconference. Therefore, despite the sudden trip to Havana by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua to suggest discretion, or receive orders?, Lula was clearly and thoroughly briefed on the true conditions of the patient who has not shown up since December 6. Both Cuban President Raúl Castro and a doctor, friend of the Brazilians, expressed their concern about the emergence of pulmonary emphysema and the fact that the patient has lost 32 kilograms of body weight since December 9. More than 50 days on bed have weakened the airways a lot. For this reason, he has not recovered and been able to travel, as scheduled by the red leaders who visit him. While they cannot see him because visits are too limited, they claim to speak frequently with the caudillo.
GOLD. I learned that Chinese, and Russians to a lesser extent, asked for ingots to secure Venezuela's economic commitment. Will they give them?
President Nicolás Maduro is not only the heir to the throne, but also to an economic crisis which demanded urgent measures to rectify the course. The crisis showed up in two aspects: a 50% inflation estimate, and shortage of staples ranging between 70% and 98%. These issues might hit the President's poor popularity; considering his feeble electoral victory of 1% over his challenger.