Venezuelans heard from Hugo Chavez, their normally verbose leftist president of Venezuela, for the first time in nearly two weeks today. But they didn’t hear his voice — they only saw a few tweets. Chavez had gone largely silent since an emergency surgery for a “pelvic abscess” on June 10. That pelvic abscess, according to the Times, is a “collection of pus deep inside the abdomen” that hurts as much as “a burst appendix, only more gradual.” Since the surgery he has only granted one interview, to a state-sponsored news agency, and details about his condition have been scarce, though he says doctors have not found anything “malignant.” Chavez, channeling Michael Moore, told the news agency, “I got sick in a good place.”
But that was June 13, and nothing had been heard since. Venezuelan opposition groups, already emboldened by a 2012 election, have raised questions about whether the constitution allows for the president to govern indefinitely from another country. So today, in an attempt to let his country know its president is still alive, Chavez — or somebody from his account — tweeted four times. The most hopeful of which — “From here, I am with you in the hard work every day. Toward victory always! We are winning! We will win!” — sounds like the kind of happy talk that comes from a chronically ill patient. Or just from a jingoistic nationalist. Take your pick.