The day after my previous entry, Hugo Chávez returned to Venezuela. And the question that I'd like to ask is that of what he is doing there. I don't mean merely to ask why he is there, but indeed to ask in what action he is engaged.
By accounts, Chávez is not faring well; amongst other things, he's having trouble breathing. It doesn't seem that this move was for his health. And so there is speculation as to its purpose.
One suggestion is that he has simply gone home to die. But Chávez, in particular, has not been one to become resigned to the thought of personal death. Such thoughts in 2002 rather unhinged the man. And the official presentation has continued to play-down his medical problems. Whatever apparatus is used to assist him in breathing is removed from his person and from the view-frame when photographs are taken. I think that Chávez is indeed home to die, but not simply.
Another suggestion is that Chávez is home to stabilize the political situation. Under his administration, the institutional framework has been largely hollowed-out; his absence, even when living, creates a vacuum. His physical presence seems to reduce the immediacy of concern about what the nation is to do without Chávez. But the vacuum is far from filled by an inert Chávez, and the stabilizing effect of his mere presence can last only so long as he lives.
If Venezeula is to be stable in the wake of his death, there must be someone or something that can take his place. But only Chávez has the power to position that someone or something. Chávez would have to do something to put it in place. And I think that, in one sense, such preparation is why he is back in Venezuela; but that returning to Venezuela at this time was not Chávez's own idea.
I think that the Cuban regime, expecting him to die soon, encouraged him to go home, and that they did so in the hope that he would anoint a successor, who would keep the petroleum flowing to Cuba. Of course, Chávez was not quite told any of this. I think that the Cubans quietly pray for Chávez to be transformed by the process of dying, and conceivably by the urgings of the Venezuelans around him, into the sort of fellow who will say
¡Ay! ¡Me voy a morir! Guess that I'd better pick-out my Joshua. But, so far, that's not happening. Chávez cannot bring himself to plan for his own death (perhaps especially as the Holy Land is nowhere in sight). Chávez is trying to live.