CARACAS, Venezuela — A president who vanishes for weeks in a mysterious battle with cancer. Supporters who chant their allegiance in the streets. And in the midst of it all, an announcement by the government that it detected a plot to kill his chosen successor.
The long and at times surreal saga surrounding the illness of President Hugo Chavez has many Venezuelan writers and intellectuals likening the nation’s drama to a soap opera. Venezuela has long produced such telenovelas, and some say no one could have imagined a more bizarre plot than the one that has unfolded in the more than seven weeks since Chavez traveled to Cuba for his operation and disappeared from public view.
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