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He's losing the plots

Hugo Chavez has touching faith in the US’s dirty tricks department, despite its notorious bungling.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2012 21:30 IST

We do not fault you if you failed to notice the significant physiological harm inherent in the machinations of international diplomacy. You are, after all, not in the same league as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has to be constantly canny and alert to figure out the latest strategy to tumble out of the United States’ trick-or-treat bag.

No, of course we are not referring to the time when Mr Cha-vez called Halloween a form of terrorism practised in the US as part of which children were made to impersonate witches. We refer to his comment last week, where he “thought aloud” that it might be possible that the US had “developed a technology to induce” cancer without anybody knowing about it.

Mr Chavez was, of course, reacting to the news of the Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez being diagnosed with cancer, the latest in a long line of South American leftist leaders to have contracted the disease. Others include Mr Chavez himself, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and its former president Lula da Silva, and Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo. However, just before you junk the comment as paranoid loonyspeak, it might spice things up to remember the hundreds of CIA plots that were reportedly hatched to terminate Cuba’s Fidel Castro, from placing explosive sea-shells at the latter’s favourite diving spots to lacing his cigars with toxins and most importantly, spraying his clothes with thallium salt so that his beard would fall off.

That is not to say that the US is going around injecting deadly diseases in leaders that it loves to hate, arcane stuff that increasingly sounds like what the Cold War was made of. Gone indeed are the days when the former US President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser would travel to Iran to deliver spare parts for anti-aircraft missiles, along with a Bible and a chocolate cake in the shape of a key. Now no matter what the US does to keep a check on the bad guys, we can always trust internet’s messiahs to leak the cables and save the world.