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President Hugo Chavez is suffering from a new, severe respiratory infection following cancer surgery, the Venezuelan government has said.
Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Hugo Chavez’s condition continued to be very delicate.
Hugo Chavez, 58, returned to Venezuela last month after being treated for cancer in Cuba, but has not appeared in public since.
Many Venezuelans have been demanding full details about his health.
Ernesto Villegas read out the latest brief update on national television.
Speaking from the Caracas military hospital where Hugo Chavez is being treated, Ernesto Villegas said: “Today there is a worsening of respiratory function.”
He said Hugo Chavez was undergoing “intensive chemotherapy, as well as complementary treatments”.
“The commander-president remains clinging to Christ and to life, conscious of the difficulties that he is facing, and complying strictly with the programme designed by his medical team,” Ernesto Villegas said.
President Hugo Chavez is suffering from a new, severe respiratory infection following cancer surgery
Hugo Chavez, who has been in office for 14 years, is believed to have cancer in his pelvic area, but his exact illness has never been disclosed.
The resident announced in June 2011 that he had cancer and has undergone four operations since then, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Hugo Chavez was re-elected for another six-year term in October 2012, but the Supreme Court ruled that his swearing-in on January 10 could be delayed because of his illness.
At the weekend, hundreds of Venezuelan students and opposition members marched in Caracas demanding full details about Hugo Chavez’s health.
He is said to be taking decisions about the country from the hospital bed but there have been mixed messages from officials on his condition.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday that President Hugo Chavez was still having chemotherapy.
On Thursday, Nicolas Maduro had gone on TV to say Hugo Chavez was battling for his life.
President Hugo Chavez is receiving chemotherapy in a Caracas hospital after cancer surgery in Cuba, Venezuela’s Vice-President Nicolas Maduro has revealed.
Nicolas Maduro was speaking after a Mass at a military hospital in honor of Hugo Chavez.
On Thursday, he went on TV to say Hugo Chavez was battling for his life.
President Hugo Chavez, 58, re-elected in October last year, returned to Caracas last month, but little has been heard about his condition until now.
Photos of him in smiling in bed, with his daughters beside him, were released shortly before he was flown home.
Late on Friday, a Mass was held at a new chapel at the Caracas Military Hospital, where the authorities say he was taken for treatment last week. One of Hugo Chavez’s daughters, Maria Gabriela, and senior officials attended the Mass.
“The treatments Commander Chavez is receiving are tough, but he is stronger than them,” VP Nicolas Maduro told reporters as he left the chapel.
Nicolas Maduro was speaking after opposition leader Henrique Capriles accused him of lying repeatedly about the president’s “real situation”.
As speculation mounts about the president’s future, a number of students have chained themselves together in a street in the capital, insisting the government “tells the truth”.
The government says Hugo Chavez is breathing with the help of a tracheal tube and meeting senior ministers from his sickbed at the military hospital.
President Hugo Chavez is receiving chemotherapy in a Caracas hospital after cancer surgery in Cuba
Nicolas Maduro told reporters that after a “general improvement” in his condition, the doctors had decided to start “complementary treatments”.
“Do you know what complementary treatments are? They are chemotherapy that is applied to patients after operations.”
The vice-president added that Hugo Chavez was communicating with his aides “in writing and other ways he has come up with”.
“You know that President Chavez is very creative and his hands won’t be tied when it comes to communicating orders, guidelines and concerns.”
Hugo Chavez, who has been in office for 14 years, revealed he had cancer in June 2011 and has already had four operations, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
It is believed he has cancer in his pelvic area but his exact illness has never been disclosed.
Last seen in public late last year, Hugo Chavez was reported to have suffered a severe respiratory infection after treatment in Havana.
Hugo Chavez was re-elected for another six-year term in October 2012, but the Supreme Court ruled that his swearing-in could be delayed because of his illness.
It was reported that more than half of Venezuelans believe Hugo Chavez will recover from his illness, although almost a third do not believe he will return to power.
VP Nicolas Maduro has been named by Hugo Chavez as his successor.
If Hugo Chavez is unable to return to office, an election must be held within 30 days under the constitution.
The first images of President Hugo Chavez after cancer surgery have been broadcast by the Venezuelan government.
Hugo Chavez, 58, is shown smiling as he lies in bed reading a newspaper, with his two daughters at his side.
He has not been seen in public since he went to Havana for surgery last year, on 11 December.
It was his fourth operation in an 18-month period for cancer first diagnosed in mid-2011.
Hugo Chavez is shown looking at Thursday’s issue of the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma in some of the photos, broadcast on television by his son-in-law, Science Minister Jorge Arreaza.
The government said the photos were taken on Thursday night.
Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said that as the Venezuelan leader was breathing through a tracheal tube, it was difficult for him to speak.
However, he said he was writing down orders.
The first images of President Hugo Chavez after cancer surgery have been broadcast by the Venezuelan government
There has been widespread speculation in Venezuela about Hugo Chavez’s condition, with some students holding protests outside the Cuban embassy in Caracas, demanding to know his state of health.
Hugo Chavez has been at the helm for 14 years and was re-elected for another six-year term in October 2011.
Shortly before making his most recent journey to Havana, Hugo Chavez suggested that his supporters should consider naming his Vice President, Nicolas Maduro, as his successor.
Nicolas Maduro has made frequent visits to Havana to see Hugo Chavez.
The Venezuelan leader is reported to have had tumors removed from his pelvic region, and has also undergone prior rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Though there have been few details about Hugo Chavez’s exact treatment, Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday that they had been “extremely complex and tough”.
Crowds of supporters of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez have been rallying outside the presidential palace in Caracas, showing their backing for the cancer-stricken leader on the day he was due to be inaugurated for another term.
Supporters wearing red “I am Chavez” T-shirts waved flags as patriotic music blared from speakers.
The swearing-in ceremony has been indefinitely postponed.
Hugo Chavez, 58, is in hospital in Cuba after undergoing cancer surgery.
The National Assembly on Wednesday voted to give the ailing leader as much time as he needed to recover.
Crowds of supporters of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez have been rallying outside the presidential palace in Caracas
Supreme Court President Luisa Estella Morales said Hugo Chavez could take the oath of office at a later date, adding that Chavez’s re-election had guaranteed “continuity” in government.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said the uncertainties thrown up by President Chavez’s absence had not been ended by the court ruling, but he called on his supporters to refrain from taking to the streets in protest at the court’s ruling.
Henrique Capriles said the Supreme Court Justices had got involved in party politics by taking their “decision to solve the governing party’s problem”.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is suffering from “complications” brought on by a “severe lung infection” which developed after surgery, officials say.
Hugo Chavez, 58, had his fourth operation for cancer in Cuba on December 11 and then developed a respiratory infection.
In a statement from Caracas, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said the infection had “led to a respiratory insufficiency”.
Hugo Chavez is due to be sworn in for another term in office on January 10.
“[Mr.] Chavez has faced complications as a consequence of a severe lung infection,” said Ernesto Villegas.
The president has not been seen in public since having cancer surgery in Havana, prompting persistent speculation about his condition.
The information minister was among a number of Hugo Chavez’s political allies who have urged people not to believe what they called lies about his health.
Ernesto Villegas warned Venezuelans not to be taken in by a “psychological war” being fought in the media which had the “ultimate aim of destabilizing the Bolivarian republic”.
Hugo Chavez is suffering from complications brought on by a severe lung infection which developed after surgery
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly Head Diosdado Cabello visited Hugo Chavez this week, along with several other dignitaries.
Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday that President Hugo Chavez was “conscious” and had gripped his hand firmly as they discussed Venezuelan politics.
He and Diosdado Cabello flew back to Caracas on Thursday and dismissed rumors of a split in the governing socialist movement.
“We’re more unified than ever,” Vice-President Nicolas Maduro said upon his return to Venezuela from Cuba.
“We swore in front of Commander Chavez that we’ll be united at the side of our people,” he said.
Opposition activists have speculated about a split between Nicolas Maduro, whom President Hugo Chavez named as his preferred successor, and Diosdado Cabello, who the constitution decrees should temporarily take over power if the Venezuelan leader were to have “an absolute absence”.
Diosdado Cabello said that those who were spreading rumours about problems between him and Nicolas Maduro would “have to wait 2,000 years for that to happen”.
Hugo Chavez has been in power since 1999 and was elected for a fourth term in office in October.
It is unclear if he will be able to attend the swearing-in ceremony for another six-year term in office next week, nor what the procedure would be if he was unable to attend.
Diosdado Cabello recently said that the ceremony could be delayed. But the opposition says such a move would be unconstitutional.
Opposition politicians say there have been no independent reports of the president’s condition.
On Thursday, Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma demanded that a commission travel to Cuba to report back on Hugo Chavez’s health.
Cuban surgeons have successfully operated on Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez to remove cancerous tissue, says his Vice-President Nicolas Maduro.
It was the president’s fourth cancer-related operation since June 2011.
At the weekend, Hugo Chavez spoke for the first time about a possible successor, naming Nicolas Maduro as his preferred candidate.
In a TV address, Nicolas Maduro described the president’s operation as both “complex” and a “complete success”.
“We’ve lived through complex moments of tension,” he added, saying that the operation had lasted more than six hours.
In Caracas, the vice-president then led an outdoor vigil with a group of the president’s supporters joining in with a recording of Hugo Chavez singing the national anthem.
Hugo Chavez’s children and grandchildren, as well as political allies including National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, were in Havana to be near the president while he underwent the operation, Nicolas Maduro said.
Cuban surgeons have successfully operated on Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez to remove cancerous tissue
The Venezuelan president had returned from cancer-related treatment in Cuba on Friday but he left again from Caracas early on Monday for further treatment.
The illness was first detected during an initial surgery for a pelvic abscess in June 2011.
During the weekend, Hugo Chavez himself had acknowledged the seriousness of the situation after tests had detected more cancerous cells in the pelvic area.
“There are risks. Who can deny it?” he said in a televised speech on Saturday.
Hugo Chavez added that if his health failed and new elections had to be held, people should vote for Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver and one of the president’s closest advisers.
“He is a complete revolutionary, a man of great experience despite his youth, with great dedication and capacity for work,” Hugo Chavez said.
In his first speech since being named as Hugo Chavez’s successor, a tearful Nicolas Maduro thanked the president.
“We are eternally grateful to Chavez. We will be loyal to Chavez beyond this lifetime,” he said, adding: “We are the children of Chavez.”
Hugo Chavez, who was re-elected in October for a fourth term as president, is due to begin his new six-year term in office on 10 January.
The constitution states that should the president leave office in the first four years of his term, an election must be held within 30 days.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez says he will return to Cuba on Sunday for more cancer surgery.
Hugo Chavez, 58, only returned on Friday from his last course of treatment there.
In a TV address Hugo Chavez said it was “absolutely essential” that he received further treatment, adding that more malignant cells had been found.
The Venezuelan leader has had three cancer operations in Cuba since mid-2011, but few details have been released.
Speaking from the Miraflores presidential palace, Hugo Chavez said that if his health failed and a new election had to be held, his supporters should vote for Vice-President Nicolas Maduro.
Correspondents say it is the first time the president has named a successor.
“Unfortunately, during these exhaustive exams they found some malignant cells in the same area. It is absolutely necessary, absolutely essential, that I have to undergo a new surgical intervention,” Hugo Chavez said.
“With God’s will, like on the previous occasions, we will come out of this victorious.”
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez says he will return to Cuba on Sunday for more cancer surgery
During his latest visit to Cuba, Hugo Chavez was said to be receiving “hyperbaric oxygenation” therapy, which can ease ailments caused by radiation treatment.
Hugo Chavez has spent many months receiving surgery and treatment in Cuba since his diagnosis in July 2011.
In May, he declared himself free of cancer.
However, the president has never given much detail about the type of cancer he suffered from, and chose to be treated in Cuba rather than Venezuela, which has led the opposition to call for greater transparency.
Hugo Chavez’s recent visit to Cuba follows his re-election in October for a third term in office.