Hugo Chavez images released amid cancer speculation (VIDEO)


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez raises a crutch after his weekly program “Alo Presidente,” in Caracas, on May 22, 2011. There is growing concern about Chavez's health two weeks after he underwent surgery in Cuba for what authorities said was a pelvic abscess.



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The governments of Venezuela and Cuba released images late Tuesday of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to show that the socialist leader is recovering from an operation amid speculation that he has prostate cancer.

The video shows Chavez walking with and talking to Cuba's revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. In the footage, Chavez, 56, is dressed in a track suit as he stands outside a Havana garden with Castro. In a photograph, Chavez looks at a Cuban newspaper with Castro.

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The images are intended to support the official line that Chavez is recovering from an operation to remove a pelvic abscess, Reuters reports.

"Let these images serve to bring peace to the people of Venezuela regarding the health of President Chavez," his Communications Minister Andres Izarra reportedly said, showing the images on Venezuelan state TV.

Until the images were released, Chavez had not been seen in the public since his June 10 operation.

Chavez underwent emergency surgery in Cuba while visiting the island on an international tour. There is no indication of when he will return to Venezuela.

Chavez's silence after the operation stood in stark contrast to his usual behavior. He is known for giving frequent public speeches and being an enthusiastic user of Twitter. There were no new posts on his Twitter account for more than two weeks, until last weekend when posts appeared about visits from family members.

He hasn't spoken publicly since calling into the Telesur television network on June 12, Bloomberg reports.

His seclusion and lack of information about his health status has caused people to question if Chavez should be running Venezuela, it states.