Hugo Chávez Has "Severe" Respiratory Infection, May Be on Respirator and Close to Death

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Hugo Chávez is in "severe" condition with what Venezuelan officials say is a "respiratory deficiency" following months of cancer treatment.

The statement has led some to predict that the leftist president is on life support and will pass away imminently. But here in Miami -- where el exilio has been waiting half a century for Fidel to kick the bucket -- we aren't holding our breath.

Ever since Chávez himself revealed on live television that doctors had removed a cancerous tumor from his pelvic region last summer, Venezuelan officials have tried to control information surrounding his illness.

They have never identified the type of cancer and insisted in the run up to the October 7 election that Chávez's presidency -- not to mention life -- was not at risk.

But the newest statement appears to have proven right skeptics of the socialist government.

"How far will the lies go?" tweeted José Rafael Marquina, a Naples doctor who has long claimed to have inside knowledge of Chávez's illness. "This cancer is a terminal illness without possibility of a cure."

Marquina went on to blast the Cuban healthcare system on which Chávez and chavistas have pinned their hopes.

"All the interventions that they have done in Cuba have been totally useless and have just created complications... which could have been avoided if he had been treated at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas," Marquina wrote.

Both Venezuela and Cuba remain swirled in rumors over just how close Chávez is to death. Marquina, for one, says the president is being kept alive by a mechanical respirator.

"If anyone doubts that he is intubated, the treatment for respiratory 'insufficiency' is oxygen and intubation," he wrote on Twitter.

The president's worsening health has set off a constitutional crisis in the oil-rich country, with National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello set to take over the presidency in case of Chávez's death -- at least until new elections can be held.

Other experts, meanwhile, are warning that Chávez could leave behind a country in economic crisis.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

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21 comments
drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

He's more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Doral won't erupt in anything: too sophisticated and chic!!

Gabe Yunes
Gabe Yunes

why the fuck would i not wish someone that has done so much harm to millions of people, to be dead? fuck chavez, fuck fidel and anyone that destroys a nation and millions of lives? what should i wish them? the best? give me a fuckin break...

Ismael Antonio Sanabria
Ismael Antonio Sanabria

As a latin male of dominican and puerto rican decent I love my Venezuelan and cuban gente. I respect the srtuggles you guys have overcame.

José Manuel
José Manuel

I'll go dance on his grave, but not before I piss on it.

Orlando Rodriguez
Orlando Rodriguez

Leaving out the ugly words, if wishing Chavez dead is ignorant, childish, and so on...how much more ignorant is it to quote stats on a country run by a genocidal maniac at gun point. Nothing is run fairly including elections in Venezuela!

Rebekka Rymanowski
Rebekka Rymanowski

"Venezuela has undoubtedly changed during Chavez's tenure." Yeah.. for the worse! Chavez pays for his "support", but you can't cross him or else. He's a dictator and a bully and uses oil profits to line his own pockets.

Warren Barrett
Warren Barrett

I fear there are people who have been programmed by the american media abut Chavez.

Chris Cvnt
Chris Cvnt

A dictator is a dictator is a dictator

Anyelina Pérez
Anyelina Pérez

Despite Chavez, It's not childish to wish pedophiles and mass murderers to be dead. It's not worth we taxpayers pay for their free healthcare, free food, free shelter in prisons while good innocent homeless don't have it. You are the one that needs to wake up to reality, world it's NOT perfect.

Louis Wing
Louis Wing

I think Doral will go crazy, and then so will Calle Ocho, just because

Аурелиан Матје
Аурелиан Матје

Well, I know a few things about Cuba and Venezuela. What I know is that Cuba is well advanced in the medical fields, despite all what our media tell us. Several people are discussing the fact that they wish Chavez's death. They don't want to kill him, but have said that they would immensly enjoy learning of his death, and some have expressed that said death should be slow and full of suffering, commesurate with the suffering they feel he inflicted upon others... IS IT WRONG TO WISH SOMEONE DEAD? Yes it is!!! You need to grow up!!! Venezuela has undoubtedly changed during Chavez's tenure. The populist president has used the oil wealth to buttress his support through cash handouts, state-run grocery stores and a gamut of other social programs. Unemployment has dropped from more than 13 percent in 1999 to about 8 percent that's why a lof of people in Venezuela love Hugo Chavez... I am not defending him but wishing someone dead is completely STUPID and CHILDISH. What Venezuela needs is more democracy.

neko687
neko687

as a Venezuelan, I can tell you that that is not the reason why people in Venezuela are rooting for cancer to win... Unemployment hasn't gone down that much, the number of homicides has gone up, the "state run grocery stores" are not well supplied (at least not to satisfy the demand they face), etc. But hey, yeah, poor guy and stuff

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