Venezuela cancels public NYE parties, urges people to pray for Chavez


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wears boxing gloves during a campaign rally in Acarigua, northwestern Venezuela, on Sept. 24, 2012. Chavez is seeking a third term to extend his 13-year rule of the oil-rich South American country.


Juan Barreto

Venezuela has cancelled public New Year’s Eve celebrations as the country’s leader, Hugo Chavez, struggles to recover from a cancer operation in Cuba, the Atlantic Wire reported.

Information Minister Ernesto Villegas urged families to “ring in the New Year at home, praying and expressing hope for the health” of Chavez, the Agence France-Presse reported.

Authorities cancelled a concert planned for downtown Caracas tonight.

The move to cancel public festivities came a day after Vice-President Nicolas Maduro said Chavez had suffered “new complications” after a cancer operation earlier this month - his fourth since he was diagnosed with cancer in June of last year - and remained in a “delicate state.”

Maduro did not give details about the complications, but said they came amid a respiratory infection, according to the Associated Press.

The vice-president had arrived in Havana on Saturday in an unexpected trip to visit the president. He said Sunday that he would remain in the Cuban capital "for the coming hours" but didn't specify how long.