Defiant Journo Tracks Chavez Cancer

Nelson Bocaranda fends off insults to break latest news
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 9, 2012 8:21 AM CST
Nelson Bocaranda.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

(Newser) – Crave the latest on Hugo Chavez's health? A 66-year-old gossip columnist is your man. Veteran Venezuelan journalist Nelson Bocaranda was the first to report that the country's president had cancer in 2011; last month, he had the latest on Chavez's trip to Cuba to address a recurrence of the disease. But Bocaranda's job hasn't been easy, as Chavez backers hurl insults at him. Along with "liar," "they call me a homosexual, a cocaine addict, a son of a bitch," the journalist says.

"I ignore it and laugh." It helps that he's the go-to source on Chavez's health for officials, diplomats, and investors, Reuters notes. Bocaranda openly backs the opposition, and activists call him the new "information minister." That information, he says, comes from a number of international sources, as well as officials within Venezuela's government. "They feel bad that people are never told the truth," he says. But Venezuela's congressional leader calls Bocaranda "sick in his soul. Every day he wishes death on the Comandante, or is he being paid to write his lies?"

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