Yesterday, WikiLeaks dumped a trove of emails from a Texas-based intelligence firm called Stratfor that includes an insider talking about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez's cancer. If the firm's Venezuelan sources are any good, it's very bad news for the Bolivarian strongman.
Citing a "well-connected (Venezuelan) source," the analyst writes in December that Cuban and Russian doctors are bickering over how to treat Chavez's cancer, which has supposedly spread into his lymph nodes and up his spine. The prognosis? The Cubans say Chavez has two years to live, while the Russians believe he'll be dead in "less than one year."
The leaked emails, written by a Stratfor analyst named Reva Bhalla -- a regular talking head on Fox News and CNN -- offer a grim picture of a brewing power struggle in Venezuela as Chavez's health teeters for the worst.
She writes that the Venezuelan's two sets of doctors have been fighting over how to treat his cancer, which she says started as a growth near his prostate and turned into a baseball sized tumor in his colon.
Here's the leaked intel on the doctors' clash:
The medical team is made up of both Russian and Cuban doctors. Both sides are clashing. THe Russian team blamed the Cubans for an improper surgery the first time in trying to remove the tumor. The second surgery over the summer was basically the Russian team trying to clean up the Cuban team's mistakes. The Russians complain that the Cubans dont have the right imagery treatment to properly treat Chavez. The Cuban medical diagnosis is 2 years. The Russian medical diagnosis, due to improper medical equipment, is less than one year. The source on the medical team complains that Chavez is a very 'bad patient.' He doesn't listen to his doctors, he ceases treatment when he has to make a public appearance. Now the Russian and the Chinese doctors are going at it because Chavez sought hte advice of a Chinese doctor that advocates more natural treatments and the Russians are saying this is horse shit treatment.
Bhalla later jokes that "only Chavez can get the most politicized medical team in the world."
Squabbling doctors aside, Chavez's cancer certainly seems to be getting worse. Chavez himself admitted his cancer has returned and is likely malignant; he's back in Cuba this week for treatment.
With a presidential election looming, is Chavez vulnerable? Despite his dire medical intel, the Bhalla doesn't think so.
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Chavez's opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, is "way too elitist" to "win over the Chavista state," she says.