Could be. Could be.
Mr. Chávez has been in Cuba since June 8, when he was felled by a pelvic abscess for which he underwent an operation two days later. Soon after, Venezuelan officials said the flamboyant leader was in good health but would recuperate in Havana for a "few days."
Those few days have stretched to 11, punctuated by false alarms over the date of his return. On Monday, a ruling party lawmaker said Mr. Chávez was hours from touching down in Caracas and urged his supporters to prepare a "tremendous" welcome for him. The claim was quickly refuted on the Twitter account of Venezuela's Communications Minister Andres Izarra.
On Tuesday, Mr. Chávez made another virtual appearance. In a statement posted on Mr. Izarra's Twitter account, he lamented the death of another Venezuelan official who had sought medical treatment in Cuba.
"We don't know very much about [Chávez's] health, there is no official news, only partial reports," said Chávez critic Teodoro Petkoff, a former presidential candidate and current editor of the opposition newspaper Tal Cual.
Mr. Chávez raised concerns when he said, during a call to a Venezuelan television station two days after his operation, that there were no "malignant" signs found, a former top Venezuelan health official said.
The former official, who asked not to be named, pointed out that a pelvic abscess—a pus-filled cavity that can result from injury or infection—is a reaction to a condition. "His choice of words was a red flag," the official said.
The former official also said there was a possibility that Mr. Chávez would be hospitalized when he returned to Venezuela, another potential sign of the severity of his ailment. If it was a matter of simply treating an abscess, Mr. Chávez would likely not need a hospital at that point, the official said.