By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, July 1 — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke to his nation from Havana, Cuba on Thursday about his health situation after having a cancerous tumor removed in two operations.
Since the first operation three weeks ago, the only information forthcoming was that he was operated on for a pelvic abscess and was “recovering satisfactorily.”
He stated in his message to the nation that at the encouragement of Fidel Castro he decided to have a full check up that led to the need for surgery.
Chavez had arrived in Cuba on June 8th on the third leg of a Latin American tour.
A 20-minute video aired Wednesday on Cuban TV had Chavez visiting with Fidel Castro on Tuesday with Chavez’ family members present.
However, also on Wednesday, a regional summit scheduled for July 5-6 in Caracas was postponed because Chavez could not assure his active presence as the host for the major event where a new organization of Latin American and Caribbean nations was to be founded.
Breaking the silence on his health, Chavez did not give a projected date for returning to Caracas but said he is up on the day-to-day activities in his country and in constant contact with Vice President Elías Jaua.
Venezuelan military chief Henry Rangel Silva was also quoted as saying Chavez remains fully in charge of the nation.
The following is an HT translation of Chavez’ address to his nation and the world:
MESSAGE TO THE VENEZUELAN PEOPLE
By President Hugo Chavez
“I expect much from time. Its immense womb contains more hope than past events and future events shall be superior to past ones.” – Simón Bolívar.
Time and its rhythm, time and its demands, time and its plans, as stated in the Ecclesiastes, bring me here today to read this message to the Venezuelan nation and international public opinion, both of which have been very concerned about the progress of my health that began to show signs of impairment several weeks ago.
After our excellent tour in Brazil and Ecuador, June 5-7, we arrived in Cuba, always supportive, to conclude the trip by reviewing and signing the new cooperation agreements.
I confess that regarding my health I was only expected to have a check-up on my left knee, nearly healed from the injury that happened in early May.
Throughout my life I committed one of those errors that could easily fit in the category philosophers call “fundamental errors”: neglecting my health and also resisting check-ups and treatment. No doubt that was a fundamental mistake! Especially for a revolutionary with some modest responsibilities such as those the revolution placed on me more than 30 years ago.
However, as the afternoon fell on Havana, Wednesday, June 8th, I was again with Fidel, the giant who has already surpassed all time and all places. Certainly it was not difficult for Fidel to notice some discomfort I was experiencing, beyond that of my left knee, which I had been trying to ignore for several weeks. He questioned me almost like a doctor and I confessed almost like a patient, and that night the immense medical advances that the Cuban Revolution has achieved for its people, and for much of the world, was put at my disposal, initiating a series of examinations, of diagnostics.
In this manner a strange formation in the pelvic area was found that required emergency surgery to prevent an imminent generalized infection. That was on Saturday June 11th, very early in the morning, some hours before the announcement was read to the country and the world, and that has sparked many demonstrations of solidarity that never cease to fill me with emotion at every moment.
After that operation, which initially succeeded in draining the abscess, I began an intensive antibiotic treatment to which I reacted positively and improved notably. However, despite the generally positive progress, during the draining and curing process, suspicion emerged about the presence of other cellular formations hitherto undetected.
Another series of special tests began immediately cytochemical, cytological, microbiological and pathological, confirming the existence of an abscessed tumor with cancer cells present. Thus, it was necessary to perform a second surgical procedure that allowed complete removal of the tumor.
It was a major operation, performed without complications, after which I have continued to progress satisfactorily, while receiving complementary therapies to combat the various types of cells found and to continue on the path of my full recovery.
Meanwhile, I have kept informed and remain informed and I am in control of the actions of the Venezuelan government and am in constant communication with my companion, Vice President Elias Jaua, and my governing team.
I deeply appreciate the many enthusiastic displays of solidarity that I received from the Venezuelan people and other sister nations, as well as from Heads of State and Government of many countries around the world, from the conviction that all this love, all this solidarity is the most sublime energy that drives me, that drives my desire to win this new battle that life has put in front us, and in a very special way the Cuban people, the Cuban nation, Fidel, Raul, this whole medical legion, which has been at the forefront of this battle in a truly sublime manner.
However, I’ve also been very aware of a certain degree of anguish and uncertainty rampant over these days, these nights, in the soul and the body of the Venezuelan nation. I think that beyond the manipulative attempts of some well-known sectors, those feelings were and are inevitable and are part of human nature itself, which is surrounded by circumstances that shape it and that it often shake it, as has occurred in this case.
From the beginning I took all responsibility for ensuring the strict accuracy of the information to be shared, based on two reasons: medical-scientific reason, firstly and secondly, with special care from the depths of my soul and my conscience, human reason, or to be precise, the loving reason!
Of the first, that is, the medical reason, I’ve already said a little. It’s been a slow and careful process of tests and diagnosis, advances and discoveries over several stages, during which a rigorous scientific process has been applied that does not permit haste or pressure of any kind. The supreme rule behind this powerful reason is full scientific verification, well beyond the speculation and suspicions that surfaced.
Regarding the reason of love, I will have to speak from the depths of my being. At this moment I recall that February 4 of that tumultuous 1992. That day I had no choice but to talk to Venezuela from my demise, from a path where I felt I was crawling towards an unfathomable abyss. As from a dark cavern of my soul sprang the “For Now” and then I sank.
Those fateful hours of April 11, 2002 also come to mind right now. Back then I also sent my beloved Venezuelan people that message, written from the Turiamo Naval Base, where I was imprisoned, a deposed President and a prisoner. It was like a painful song, sung from the bottom of another abyss. I felt it had swallowed me down its throat and I was sinking and sinking.
Now in this new moment of difficulty, and especially since Fidel Castro himself, the man of the Moncada Barracks, the man of Granma, the very same man in the Sierra Maestra, the timeless giant, came to break the tough news that they had found cancer. I began to ask my Lord Jesus, the God of my parents, as Simon Bolivar would say, the mantle of the Virgin, as my mother Elena would say, the spirits of the savana, as Florentino Coronado would say, for the opportunity to speak, not from another path towards abyss, not from a dark cave or a night without stars. This time I wanted to speak from this steep road where I feel like I am already emerging from another abyss. This time I wanted to talk in the morning sunshine and feel it illuminate me. I think we have already succeeded. Thank God!
And finally, my beloved and dear compatriots, my beloved daughters and sons, my dear young friends, children of my people, my soldiers as brave as ever, my valiant workers, my dear women patriots, my beloved people, you are all and each in my heart and I tell you that the desire to talk to you today from my new climb toward returning home has nothing to do with myself, but instead with you, patriotic people, good people. With you I did not want and don’t want you to join me on paths descending into some abyss. I invite you to stay together to scale new heights “for there are cherries over there, on the hill and a beautiful song to be sung,” the singer of the people, our dear Ali Primera, continues to remind us.
Let’s go, then, with our father Bolívar, in the vanguard, continuing up the summit of Chimborazo!
Thank you God! Thank you my people! Thank you life!
Onward to victory!
We will win!
Havana, this beloved and heroic Havana, June 30, 2011.
From the Great Nation, I say from my heart, from my entire soul, from my supreme hope, which is the people:
For now and forever,
We will live and win!
Thank You very much!
Until my return!