Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) released on Thursday, February 21
REPORT. The patient continues in the same condition. He arrived very tired because of a trip that was never recommended. Medically, nothing remains to be done. His stay at "The Rock" in Tiuna Fort has been deferred in the light of the cutting-edge equipment spread over the ninth floor of Caracas Military Hospital. Cubans are astounded at the streamlined equipment. They had to call the representatives of some manufacturers and ask for an update. Only the family members of President Hugo Chávez, Vice-President Nicolás Maduro and National Assembly (AN) Speaker Diosdado Cabello have access to the special site. Bolivian President Evo Morales was not allowed. Same happened at Cimeq. Doubts about the inauguration in private continue. Earlier, in Cuba, President Chávez wondered what for he was to be sworn in, as absolute absence would follow. And that is under discussion. He did say that the sooner the better. Anyway, he continues being the election "aircraft carrier." Will his instructions be disregarded, as it was the case for his instructions of December 8? Time is of the essence. As told by Minister of Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas to his brother Vladimir, nobody, except for the above-mentioned, has seen him. In the meantime, the vice-president, sometimes acting as president; sometimes as presidential candidate, just obeys and seeks the advice from Cuban President Raúl Castro.
POWER. Francisco de Miranda Front, led by Foreign Minister Elías Jaua, increasingly controls the government action. Jaua is the most fiduciary man of the Castro brothers, above Maduro, who is advised because of his incumbency, and because he was handpicked by the president on December 8. Francisco de Miranda Front, with the Governor of Cojedes state Erika Farías besides Jaua, counts on the government best ally: Minister of Science and Technology Jorge Arreaza, Chávez's son in law, manages a trio of right-hand ministers with thick budgets fed by taxes levied on technology firms. He might be appointed as vice-president and act as president as soon as Maduro embarks upon his presidential campaign.
FOR SECURITY REASONS? More than three dozens of high-ranking military officers inside the "process" have their children or relatives either studying in schools and universities or residing in cities of the "US Empire." "We have to do it for their sake," due to the widespread insecurity in Venezuela, is the pretext in the application for the US visa. Incredibly, a younger son of Minister of the Interior, General Néstor Reverol, is among them.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
The can of tuna, formerly a fairly normal pantry staple, has long been missing from stores in Venezuela, especially the domestic brands. When tuna cans, imported or domestic, do occasionally show up on store shelves, prices have increased several fold.