Americas: Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is dying of cancer in Havana, in a live demonstration of Cuba’s vaunted socialized medical care. He went there instead of Brazil because he wanted to make a political statement. What irony.
As party cronies hover at his bedside, Cuban officials bark orders to the government in Caracas, and red-shirted Chavistas hold vigils, all signs are pointing to an imminent exit for the Venezuelan leader who controls a huge part of the world’s oil.
He’s going out exactly as he wouldn’t have liked — helpless and at the mercy of doctors, a far cry from the blaze of heroic socialist glory he might have preferred.
Most galling for him: It didn’t have to happen this way.
His expected demise will be entirely due to his gullibility to leftist propaganda and bad choices that came of it.
“In July 2011, during (a)… summit in Caracas, Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, told a few of her colleagues — in private — that Chavez was likely to die as a result of ‘his excessive paranoia rather than as a consequence of his serious — yet treatable — cancer,'” wrote Venezuelan consultant Pedro Burelli in a newsletter.
“What she meant to say,” Burelli added, “was that by choosing secrecy in Cuba over medical competence at the Sirio-Libanese Hospital in Sao Paulo (where she had been treated successfully for lymphatic cancer) Chavez had condemned himself to a shorter life.”
Burelli noted that it corresponded to his own sources, who told him that Chavez’s chosen successor, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, flew to Brasilia to meet with Rousseff and her oncologist.
Maduro signaled interest. But the Chavista regime then demanded to pretty much take over the 400-bed hospital, which the Brazilians rejected. “From that moment on the patient was doomed,” Burelli wrote.
According to a 2011 report in the Wall Street Journal, Chavez chose Cuban medical care over the world-class treatment in Brazil for “political” reasons.
“While Mr. Chavez often lauds Cuban doctors, switching from Cuban to Brazilian care would have suggested the Cubans aren’t capable of world class care.”
And that’s pretty much the nub of it, the incredible desire of Chavez, common to all the left, to defend the myth of Cuba’s top-down health care system as superior to health care in free markets.
A generalidade dos estatistas mundiais quando a situação aperta vão a instituições privadas de qualidade, como a Clínica de Cleveland (vejam bem a lista de pacientes que foram chefes de estado). A própria Dilma tratou-se no Hospital Sírio-Libanês de São Paulo. Foram espertos.
Chávez quis passar uma mensagem política e foi a Cuba. Já sabemos como são as condições do hospitais Cubanos para o povo. Mas também se sabe que há sectores em que são melhores… para quem paga ou tem favores. Mas cada vez menos, como Chá vez agora descobriu. Quando falta dinheiro – essa maldição capitalista – toda a sociedade sofre e este episódio providencia mais um sinal disso.
Chávez pode agora ser admirado pela sua coerência. E pela sua férrea força de vontade. Uma figura que sempre foi pouco esperta e que assim permaneceu até ao fim. Mas, pelo menos, coerente.