Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) released on Tuesday, February 26
CRUEL PINOCCHIOS? The extensive campaign blended by "the enormous happiness at the commander's return to hold the incumbency for which he was reelected last October 7" was filled with merrymaking the day of his arrival, turning, the days after, into prayers, rituals and mass of various religions, beliefs and worships, begging for the recovery of the caudillo who does not show up. A lady, a loyal Chávez's supporter, told us that she had seen him walking in the hospital. If true, a picture would have been enough to erase false rumors and confer credibility on the government and its spokespersons. The government lies have been on the rise. The course of time haunts the legitimacy of Vice-President Nicolás Maduro's governance, actions and decisions "ordered, suggested and authorized" by the patient. As corroborated by his treating doctors and known only by the Cuban and Venezuelan top bureaucrats, the patient is in an extremely delicate stage. From the remarks of Lieutenant Jesse Chacón last February 5 ("He stands up; I imagine that he walks where he is") to the comments of Minister of Planning and Finance Jorge Giordani on February 24 ("...I even remember December 28, when he called and I was surprised because he would ask me very specific questions about all the measures we are preparing and the government role; I mean, he was abreast of what we were doing"). The date tallies –is it coincidence?- with the Fools' Day (December 28) and with one of the most serious emergencies faced by the patient at Cimeq that led him to a pulmonary arrest. Both Giordani and Maduro seek to hold the ill president liable for their mistakes in the economic area. Opposition congressman Julio Borges unveiled the lie about the five-hour meeting referred by Maduro. According to the vice-president, "...he (President Hugo Chávez) communicated by different, written, means to give us the guidelines with a great effort and high spirits, smiling, with sparkling eyes, and immense willpower." Borges verified that the vice-president spent one hour at Caracas Military Hospital, including half an hour to stage, in a rush, such obligatory simultaneous broadcast intended to "deny rumors." However, the time and the attendees' faces as long as a fiddle just stirred the rumors up. That is it. A meeting like the one fabricated by them would have been life-threatening for a patient at the intensive care unit. Foreign Minister Elías Jaua, on visit to Africa, competed on Friday, February 22, with Maduro and Minister of Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas, when confirming the "severe pulmonary infection." The three twits from @chavezcandanga on February 18 –at 4.12; 4.13 and 4.14 a.m.- as soon as the plane landed on Maiquetía international airport, were posted by the president's son in law and Minister of Science and Technology Jorge Arreaza. The commander cannot write, let alone, sign. Among the informational tongue twisters, the only thing for certain slipped by them has been the president's plight concerning his lungs.
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.