MINUTES / Enver Hoxha’s illness and how Ramiz Alia took the throne

Read Time:15 Minute, 25 Second

A year before Enver Hoxha died, Ramiza Alia had already taken the reins of the communist state and announced to the leaders of the Bureau that the leader who had led the country for 40 years is dying.

Tema newspaper has published the second part of the Dossier of the journalist Dashnor Kaloçi, where a secret material of the meeting of the Political Bureau is published, where Ali talks in detail about the illness of the dictator Hoxha, and even emphasizes that in all likelihood he will be absent from the 45th anniversary of the liberation of Albania, which will be considered as a serious political sign.

Alia insists that Hoxha come even if he is in a serious state of health.

We are publishing the full minutes below….


“Top secret, of special importance”

Minutes of the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania, dated November 11, 1984

This meeting of the Political Bureau was called by the Secretary of the Central Committee of the ALP, Comrade Ramiz Alia, to inform the main members of the party leadership about Comrade Enver’s health condition.

They gathered in the small break room upstairs, and Comrade Ramiz’s speech was transcribed.

Comrade Ramiz Alia: I thought I would talk to all of you, comrades, to inform you about Comrade Enver’s health condition. You all have followed him and are generally aware of his health condition. Now I would like to let you know that you should also take into account how this matter stands in the last few days, why, as you yourself saw, at the meeting of the 9th Plenum of the Central Committee on September 27, his condition has worsened. Comrade Enver’s health is characterized by a general weakness of the organism. His physical stamina has dropped quite a bit, which, as you saw, is reflected in his difficulty speaking.

He has pointed out this situation to us himself, when he came to the camera last time and among other things he told us that he wants to talk to us about many things, but he can’t. Recently, it has become difficult for Comrade Enver to move his limbs. The truth is that during these days he also had some kind of flu, which of course had a negative impact on the severity of this condition. For all these reasons, I thought to inform you, friends of the Bureau, in order to have a complete picture of this situation. The main source of Comrade Enver’s health decline is diabetes. As you all know, he has been suffering from diabetes for a long time since 1948.

This disease has generally affected the blood vessels, reducing the possibility of circulation, which weakens the body. The treatments against this disease have been done consistently with rigour. Yes, they have been done in order thanks to the rigor and will of constant care of Comrade Enver himself, who has strictly adhered to the recommendations of the doctors and implemented their advice with an exemplary discipline. This has made it possible to avoid for a long time those negative effects that could be proven much faster if certain therapy was neglected.

However, diabetes is the main source of the predicament Comrade Enver is going through now. As a result of diabetes, comrade Enver had a myocardial infarction 11 years ago, in October 1973. Many of the comrades do not know this event, but a good part, such as Adili, Manushi, etc., know about it the disease he was afflicted with at that time. Even in this case, Comrade Enver was treated very carefully and again it should be noted that he was also very disciplined in the implementation of the treatments. I can even say that then he was treated so effectively against the heart attack that later he had no more worries and continued to work normally.

It should be mentioned that three years ago, from 1980-1981, he began to notice some other phenomena called pulmonary edema, which are nothing more than accumulation of water in the lungs that cause difficulty in breathing. For this reason, our doctors have been forced to take measures from time to time to discharge excess water from the lungs, so that it is relieved and returned to a normal state.

The cause of pulmonary edema comes from the weakening of the heart muscle, which does not have the proper power to absorb the excess water that is created in the lungs and causes breathing difficulties. From the beginning of this year, there was a period when these phenomena became more frequent and aggravated his health condition, but this phenomenon is now no longer being noticed. As you know, in February of this year, friend Enver also had a cerebral ischemia.

Paul and Muho were not there when we met the next day on this occasion. However, they also learned about that extremely dangerous moment, for Comrade Enver’s life, but the situation was well controlled, thanks to the very quick and very effective intervention of our doctors. After this stroke, Comrade Enver improved, but it must be admitted that in general his state of health worsened, as the ischemia created difficulties in moving the limbs of the leg and hand, which were affected, and created a fatigue of general.

For this reason, several times we had proposed to Comrade Enver to bring doctors from abroad to visit him. I personally talked with him, Nexhmija also talked, at the same time we talked another time together with Nexhmija, but he never accepted our proposal. He argues it with two reasons.

First, with the complete trust he has in our doctors, in the diagnosis they have made and in the treatment they have given and continue to give. Secondly, there is the political aspect of this step, which he thinks should be looked at carefully before acting. Even without taking doctors from abroad, we have all seen what the press in the world wrote about his condition, even a Greek newspaper there a month ago wrote as if he had died.

Italian television has also talked about the serious health condition of Comrade Enver. So without bringing doctors and there is a noise outside, so it is guessed what can be said and written later in the world opinion if someone is called. We must take into account then, in the first place, the concern that would be caused in our people.

Two or three weeks ago we talked again with Comrade Enver, and finally he agreed to do something in this direction, not to have foreign doctors come here to visit him, but to send our doctors abroad, to France, to do a consultation with French specialists. For this reason, we sent to Paris three of our doctors who deal with Enver’s treatment, his personal doctor Isuf Kalon, cardiologist Ylli Popa and Bajram Preza, as a neurologist who followed the cures against cerebral ischemia.

Our doctors received all the necessary data and, with the help of our embassy in Paris, organized a consultation with the president of the France-Albania Association, the doctor professor Paul Miliezin at the head, to whom they spoke openly and of course confidentially, that it was for Comrade Enver. This was done so that he and his team understood that the secret of the case had to be maintained, therefore it was emphasized that only they knew this.

There is no doubt that the French specialists will have spoken to their government, but at least in the press they cannot say anything, that such a thing would be very negative for them. Therefore, the French specialists were presented with all the documentation, starting from the history of the disease, the electrocardiograms that were done during this time, etc. It is known that modern medicine no longer follows the old methods, paying attention to or touching the patient’s body; today, the necessary analyzes are done beforehand and consultations are organized on their basis.

This is how it was done there for Comrade Enver’s case as well, and this consultation was very effective. What came out of it? All the French specialists in the consultation were completely of the same opinion with the diagnosis of our doctors from the beginning to the end. Second, they all agreed with the method of treatment, with the therapy that was followed, whether against diabetes, or for strengthening the heart, against edema, etc… Even the French specialists said that, even if they had followed the patient themselves, it would have been difficult that they could do more than what our doctors have done, who have used the modern technique of medicine and the latest medicines they have provided and given in the appropriate doses with efficiency.

Not that we had any doubt in the treatment of our doctors towards Comrade Enver, because we have always been convinced that the effectiveness of their treatments has been good, but the fact that even the French specialists had the same opinion as ours, reassured us and convince us that we are not dealing with anything else. As far as the heart is concerned, the opinion of both the French specialists and ours is the same. This organ has reached the stage of marked insufficiency, the heart muscle has weakened excessively and this is exactly the source of the general impotence that Comrade Enver has until now.

So the main factor in this condition that causes the other negative phenomena of Comrade Enver, is the heart. Even when the diagnosis was discussed, the French said that the cerebral ischemia that struck Comrade Enver a few months ago has its source, we are not dealing with stenosis of the carotid artery, as our doctors had thought. The French are more inclined to the view that this condition is the consequence of a cardiac embolism. From an objective point of view, this does not play any role, but French specialists are convinced that all these phenomena came from the heart. Only on this issue were discussions between the French and our specialists, there were no other problems.

Our doctors, even with regard to the phenomenon of dragging the leg and twisting the hand, have thought that we are not dealing with any phenomenon of Parkinson’s disease. Even in this matter, ours did not agree with the French. They are of the opinion that Comrade Enver is not dealing with this disease. Foot dragging and hand tremors are a consequence of the weakening of the cardiovascular organs, especially the weakening of the heart.

The French specialist who spoke about Parkinson’s expressed the opinion that this is his opinion based on the data that was presented, that in order to give an accurate opinion, he asked to see the patient himself. “Although we are not dealing with Parkinson’s disease,” he said, “I think that the cure for this disease, if proven, is well done.” From the point of view of therapy, the French therefore recommend the same medicines given by our doctors, with very little variation in the administration of any medicine of the same family.

For example, they know that Comrade Enver likes to use salt in his food, while our doctors have advised him not to eat it. However, by giving him food without salt, he does not eat it. The French doctors say that in his conditions, we especially care that the patient eats all the necessary food, so let him take some salt, that after the bread we give him medicine to discharge it. However, the medicine he was told to remove the salt made him very tired. When our people pointed this out to the French, they recommended using a delayed effect diuretic.

Herein lay the differences in therapy between the French specialists and our doctors. There is no other essential thing between them, and this is very positive, because it shows that the treatment by our doctors was and is very correct. Although Comrade Enver’s treatments for Parkinson’s have been done in order, in order to remove the worry yesterday we talked with Comrade Enver to call the specialist professor for this disease, but he did not agree, even as Nexhmija told me, the day before he had also talked herself on this matter with him. ‘Why come?’, he told us. But we expressed our opinion that we do not lose anything if it came, that the French now know all this that our doctors know, and we will take measures that no one should find out about such a thing, by bringing the French doctor like a tourist. However, with some difficulty, we convinced him.

This neither adds nor detracts from the fact that the treatments for Parkinson’s have been done in order, even the French said that you did very well to start this treatment, because the medicine used does not bring any harm even if he does not have this disease. Comrade Enver knows all that I told you, but not to the disturbing degree I told you. Thus, for the French specialist who has been called to come, we have not told him that he will visit him for Parkinson’s, but to see the way of giving the cures. Even about the marked heart failure, we have also not spoken to him with the seriousness that his condition is, and it must be recognized that this condition is very serious, therefore we must all be very conscious, although we have told Comrade Enver in a way moderate his condition.

The new therapy that has been started, may bring some improvement, and we wish that friend Enver recovers. Yes, we will look at this. In these conditions, of course, his spiritual state has also changed. Comrade Enver has become sensitive. Well, when I went the day before yesterday and I was talking to him about the new fountain well that has been opened, he started to cry and was very touched.

Also, when you see something on TV, you are affected. So is the disease. In this situation, we have followed and will follow the path so as not to burden Comrade Enver with work beyond his current physical capabilities; we will load him with as much as he can afford so as not to cause him any difficulty. I have tried to keep it up to date, of course very briefly and without going into detail. I go to his house all the time and he himself sometimes calls me. He also calls his friend Adil on the phone, and he also only sends him some necessary material.

So, taking into account the serious health condition of Comrade Enver, I have tried not to burden him, but to inform him about the problems of the political aspect, without going into details. We will follow this practice in the future as well so as not to burden it. Even now we have the problem of the Spartakiad, which will be held on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Liberation, where it is necessary for him to participate, since the interest of the party requires him to appear in public. In this great physical and cultural manifestation will be the whole people and the youth of Tirana who want to see the Commander. For these reasons, I was forced to raise this issue before you, as we are facing new situations.

We have taken all the measures to ensure his appearance in front of the public of the capital without creating any difficulties for him, because we have made sure that the walk to the stadium tribune is very short and horizontal, only 6-7 steps, until take a place in the armchair where he will sit and will not move from there until the end of the manifestation. Some friends may have the opinion to postpone the Spartakiad for a few more days, but it must be understood that here we are not dealing with a flu illness, the word is that it lasts for a few days, the sick person gets better and goes back to work.

Comrade Enver’s situation is different. He is now going through some greater difficulties than he had before, which everyone noticed at the first session of the 9th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, although he came to the meeting on his own two feet that day, and now it is more difficult to walk. However, we will see the issue of his appearance at the demonstration, I just want to say that this is of great importance because everyone wants to see him there, and not only the people of Tirana, but the whole of Albania.

In the stadium we will place television equipment for this purpose as in all cases of this type. Therefore, we will try to arrange his exit in order to make the people happy. However, we will see the issue in the coming days. I think that even if someone accompanies him by the arm, there is nothing wrong. Then everyone guesses that both age and disease have these phenomena. However, we still have many days to decide on his participation in the Spartakiad, so let’s not rush. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t handle this concern myself, that’s why I gathered you to tell you all this so that the Political Bureau would know.

However, our doctors are at the top of their duties and Comrade Enver himself very rigorously applies all the treatments they give him. All that I said we should keep to ourselves. Now let’s put all our strength to perform the tasks under these conditions. This will also be the biggest relief for his condition, so that we don’t worry about the big problems that we have ahead of us and that worry us all, but a little more about him. Therefore, the more successes we have in the affairs of the Party and the state, the more it will have a positive effect on the improvement of Comrade Enver’s spiritual and physical condition. This will be good for him and this is now our main task. All the services we are doing and will do for him, and I hope that Comrade Enver overcomes this difficulty thanks to the care that is being shown and the medicines that have been provided to him, and to recover himself, which will be with very important for the Party.

Tirana, on 15.10.1984

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