Venezuela shows Chavez photos, says he has trouble speaking
[REUTERS] Venezuela published the first photos of cancer-stricken Hugo Chavez since his surgery in Havana more than two months ago and said the socialist president was breathing through a tracheal tube and struggling to speak.
It is indeed hard to speak with a tracheostomy tube in place. That bit with the tube suggests that he's been intubated and ventilator dependent for a while. Generally a tracheostomy isn't done unless one realizes that the patient won't be liberated from the ventilator for a while; the average time from initial intubation to trach being 2 to 3 weeks. Reuters tells us more than they perhaps wanted to tell us...
The pictures showed the 58-year-old, smiling but with his face looking swollen, lying down in a hospital bed and flanked by his two daughters. In one, they were reading Thursday's edition of the Cuban state newspaper, Granma.

The photos were shown by Chavez's son-in-law, Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who has been traveling between Havana and Caracas to be at the Venezuelan president's bedside.

He said Chavez - whose political identity is built around long-winded speeches, meandering talk shows and casual chatter with supporters - was having trouble talking.

"He doesn't have his usual voice," Arreaza told Venezuelan state television
... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
. "He has difficulty communicating verbally, but he makes himself understood. He communicates his decisions perfectly. He writes them down."
Tie his hands and he'll shut up...
You'll notice Son-in-Law did not say the handwriting was legible. If the face is swollen, so are the fingers, which interferes with manual dexterity.

Posted by: Fred 2013-02-16