Chavez's announced return to Caracas came less than three days after the government released the first photos of the president in more than two months, showing him looking bloated and smiling alongside his daughters. The government didn't release any additional images of Chavez upon his arrival in Caracas, and unanswered questions remain about where he stands in a difficult and prolonged struggle with an undisclosed type of pelvic cancer.
Chavez was re-elected to a new six-year term in October, and his inauguration, originally scheduled for Jan. 10, was indefinitely postponed by lawmakers in a decision that the Supreme Court upheld despite complaints by the opposition. Some speculated that with Chavez back, he could finally be sworn in.
Hemos llegado de nuevo a la Patria venezolana. Gracias Dios mío!! Gracias Pueblo amado!! Aquí continuaremos el tratamiento.— Hugo Chávez Frías (@chavezcandanga) February 18, 2013
Chavez also reportedly returned to Venezuela in the dead of night with no press present and was immediately whisked to a military hospital in Caracas which is contrary to the bombastic and media-savvy tendencies of Chavez. Nicholas Maduro, Chavez's hand-picked vice president, had been running the day-to-day affairs of the nation in his absence.
On Thursday, something took place that cast further doubt on the official announcements from the Chavez regime. One of Chavez's longtime allies, Bolivian president Evo Morales, showed up in Caracas to visit him. However, Chavez's doctors would not allow the Bolivian president to see him, claiming that Chavez was still undergoing treatment and 'resting'.
Rebuffing Morales is starting to make me wonder if there's some sort of Weekend at Bernie's scenario going on where the innter circle of an ailing Chavez passes along good news about the to the public in order to maintain calm and then once whatever succession issues are ironed out, it will be announced that his health has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.