Venezuelan actor Héctor Manrique plays Edmundo Chirinos, Hugo Chavez's psychiatrist, who ended up in prison. The play will be on featured in Miami next weekend.  EFE/Cortesía Imagine It Media/

'Blood on the Couch,' the history of Chávez's killer psychiatrist

Who was Edmundo Chirinos, a psychiatrist that drugged and raped patients, who also provided therapy to former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez? A successful…


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The Venezuelan diaspora in Miami doesn't need to be reminded who Hugo Chavez was, but perhaps members of the population never heard of Edmundo Chirinos, a psychiatrist who treated Hugo Chávez and ended up in jail for murdering and raping his patients.

Venezuelan actor Héctor Manrique decided to make Chirinos the center of his theatrical monologue, "Blood on the Couch," which he will present in Miami on August 10 at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. The play will be featured for three days and Manrique hopes it will help to point out why Venezuelan society is somehow responsible for the "debacles" that, throughout history, have shaken the South American country, as reported by EFE.

"I am very concerned about why as a society we have allowed ourselves to be carried away by delirious people (...) how we have let these characters have enormous power and manage us," Manrique said in an interview with EFE this week.

A public figure since his high-school days, Chirinos ran for president of Venezuela, governed the country’s primary university, became the private therapist of two Venezuelan presidents, and published countless academic papers, as reported in Panama Post. 

Chirinos provided therapy for Presidents Jaime Lusinchi (1983-1988) and Hugo Chávez (1999-2013). However, his career fell in disgrace when he was accused of seducing and murdering a 19-year-old woman, Roxana Vargas, in 2008. During the trial, where he got no support from his Chavista friends, it was revealed that he drugged and raped at least 14 other women, as reported in Panama Post. He was condemned to prison and died in 2012, when he was under house arrest for health reasons. 

Manrique also said that his intention is not to make "political theater" or "pamphlets," but a committed theater that causes the audience's heads "to explode," helping them to better understand the reality.

"Blood on the Couch" aims to send a direct message "to the society of accomplices" in which Manrique claims to live, but with universal validity, because he is sure that the risk of falling before people who cause disastrous damage exist everywhere, including the United States.

Manrique personally met Edmundo Chirinos since he was a friend of his father and the godfather of one of his brothers.

He remembers him as a great seducer, funny, very intelligent, polyglot, revered by people, successful with women and always interested in being noticed, as reported in EFE.

The play is inspired by a book by journalist Ibéyise Pacheco, who meticulously recorded Chirinos’s saga and included over 40 hours of recorded conversations with the psychiatrist. The book, "Sangre en el Diván" (Blood on the Couch) has been one of the best selling works in Venezuela over the past decade.


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