Venezuelan President Calls for End to “Morbid and Inhumane” Health Rumors

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By JUAN REARDON – VENEZUELANALYSIS.COM

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez practicing softball with his presidential guard on 29 September 2011 (Prensa Presidencial).

Merida, September 30th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Thursday Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called unfounded media reports on his health condition “morbid and inhumane,” referring specifically to an article published in the Miami-based El Nuevo Herald in which unnamed sources claimed the Venezuelan president had suffered kidney failure, was on dialysis, and had aplastic anemia, a condition associated with chemotherapy in which the body is unable to produce sufficient blood cells.

Speaking to reporters in front of the Miraflores Presidential Palace yesterday, Chavez said wanted to he ask “the people of Venezuela not to pay any attention to the rumors.”

“People know me, know that I would be the first to come out and say, and explain, any difficulty in any part of the process (of chemotherapy). There has been no difficulty beyond what is normal,” Chavez said.

“As I already mentioned, the fourth cycle is over and now I am physically recovering with medicines so the body can resist the level of toxicity,” he explained.

“I have dealt with this well. But, well, here I am working, working hard, but I think it is good to clear up these issues,” he said.

On 29 September El Nuevo Herald’s Antonio Maria Delgado wrote a speculative piece in which he claimed “sources close to the situation” had told him the Venezuelan President was rushed to an emergency room after having suffered “kidney failure that required dialysis” and that Chavez may also be suffering from “aplastic anemia”, a condition in which bone marrow fails to produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells.

“Ha! How original,” said Chavez, joking off the El Nuevo Herald “sources that spoke under condition of anonymity.”

The Venezuelan President added that media reports read “like a novel” and asked reporters to put an end to “the speculation.”

After the article in El Nuevo Herald, numerous mainstream media outlets reproduced the same storyline. The Miami Herald published an English-language version of the Delgado piece titled, “Chavez´s Condition Might be Worsening,” the UK’s Telegraph published a similar story titled, “Hugo Chavez ´Rushed to Hospital after Kidney Failure´” and Fox News published “Venezuelan President Chavez Reportedly Hospitalized for Kidney Failure.”

Rumors surrounding Chavez’s health began earlier this year after a brief diplomatic visit to Cuba was extended so that doctors could perform an emergency operation on the Venezuelan President to remove a pelvic abscess. After several days of silence, Chavez announced live on national television that the original operation had led to the discovery, and removal of, a cancerous tumor.

A month later, Chavez underwent his first of four rounds of chemotherapy.

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