The announcement of President Hugo Chavez’s return to Venezuela after a 10-week silence in Cuba is raising questions about his cancer treatments, his delicate health, and the political purposes that motivated his homecoming.
Three messages appeared on Chavez’s Twitter account early Monday saying he was back, and the government announced that he had arrived at 2:30am and was taken to Caracas’ military hospital to continue with his treatments. The government released no images of the president, though, and while his supporters threw street celebrations to welcome him, some also said they wanted to see him to get a better idea of how he is doing.
The government has said Chavez is undergoing “complex and tough” treatments for his illness but hasn’t specified what sort of treatment. The government has said he is breathing through a tube inserted into his windpipe and therefore has difficulty talking, but officials haven’t given a detailed medical report despite demands.
The lack of any images of Chavez on Monday underlined the many unanswered questions about where he stands in his struggle with cancer.
Six employees of the hospital where he is being treated, when asked about the president, said they hadn’t seen him.
Chavez’s precise condition and the sort of cancer treatments he is undergoing remain a mystery, and speculation has grown recently that he may not be able to stay on as president.