“How did it happen that six leaders of Latin American countries which had criticized US policies and tried to create an influential alliance in order to be independent and sovereign states, fell ill simultaneously with the same disease?” Zyuganov told Russian state television, urging an investigation under “international control” into Chavez’s death.
Zyuganov is accurate so far as his claim that six Latin-American leaders were diagnosed with cancer within a relatively close period of time, most notably Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December 2012, although later analysis proved that she had never actually suffered from the illness.
Current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, and the former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, have all been hit with cancer in the last few years. In 2006 it was also reported that retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro was also diagnosed with cancer.
Zyuganov’s comments follow similar rhetoric by Venezuelan Vice President Madurs, who in the hours before the announcement of Chavez’ death accused “the historical enemies of our homeland” of being responsible for Chavez’ cancer, claiming that Yasser Arafat had also been “inoculated with an illness.”
Hugo Chavez himself once speculated that the United States had a cancer weapon after being diagnosed with the disease in 2011. “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” he stated.
“Fidel [Castro] always told me, ‘Chávez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what,’ Chavez added.
The fact that Chavez was almost certainly the target of numerous CIA assassination plots has bolstered the belief amongst some that his cancer could have been surreptitiously induced as a means of unseating Chavez from power, successfully achieving what a 2002 coup failed to accomplish.