The Venezuelan government announced Monday that it will open an inquiry into the conspiracy theory that the cancer that helped kill Hugo Chavez last week was implanted by his American imperialist enemies, but doctors say such a scenario is impossible.
Chavez died last week from a heart attack while suffering from cancer. Even before his death, conspiracy theorists suggested that the anti-American leader’s cancer was the product of an American plot to kill him. Even Chavez gave voice to the conspiracy.
“It’s very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America,” Chavez said in 2011, speaking of several Latin American leaders who had recently been diagnosed with cancer, including himself. “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?”
“We will seek the truth,” Chavez disciple and acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Monday while announcing the investigation, according to Reuters. “We have the intuition that our Commander Chavez was poisoned by dark forces that wanted him out of the way.”
But doctors say it’s actually impossible to covertly give someone cancer that would kill them in relatively short order, even if such “dark forces” wanted to.
“Pure insanity,” Dr. Steven T. Rosen, director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University, told Gawker when asked whether their was a poison that could suddenly induce cancer in a human.
Doctors Vince T. Devita Jr. of Yale’s Cancer Center and Al Bensen of Northwestern University also replied to Gawker that they were not aware how such a covert action could be scientifically possible.
(h/t Michael Moynihan)