The blogosphere has been lit up this week with the return of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to Caracus. Chavez spent the last two months in Cuba receiving treatment for cancer, enduring a fourth operation over the course of 18 months. Simeon Tegel of the Independent (UK) is reporting that speculation is increasing that Chavez has come home to die as he has entered the terminal phase of his illness.
News of his return prompted jubilant scenes among his supporters, many of whom gathered outside the Carlos Arvelo military hospital, where Chavez was transferred by ambulance from the airport, to celebrate.
But hopes that their idol would once again take up the reins of his “Bolivarian” socialist revolution appear to have rapidly dissipated. Since returning to Caracas, the 58-year-old President has remained hidden from public view and the government has made it clear that his battle with cancer is far from over.
“The President has returned to continue his medical treatment. The President’s time right now is not political,” Rodrigo Cabezas, a senior member of Chavez’s ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela said on state TV.
Rick Gladstone of the New York Times is reporting that Bolivian president Evo Morales, one of Chavez’s
closest friends, said that the Chavez’s family is now “encouraged” with his return home.
President Chavez has fought a long and courageous battle. Only time will tell what his return home means for the people of Venezuela, South America and the world at large.