CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is still receiving treatment for breathing problems. Two months ago he underwent cancer surgery in Cuba and he has not been seen in public since.
A government spokesman announced today that he hasn't fully recovered: “The respiratory deficiency that arose in the course of the postoperative period persists, and its tendency has not been favorable, for which reason he continues to be treated,” the information minister, Ernesto Villegas, announced to the public on national television.
Five days after his arrival back to Venezuela, no images of Chavez have been released, in stark contrast to previous "risen from the ashes" returns by the theatrical leader.
"The president holds firm with Christ, with the maximum desire to live," Villegas said.
There are rumors that Chavez is to be sworn in at his hospital bed this weekend, in order to perhaps renounce power. Politicians are quietly readying for elections in the coming months. Meanwhile, Venezuela — on both sides of the political divide — is on hold as it waits for news of what's next.
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Virtually no medical information has been made public on Chavez's recovery, Al Jazeera reported. Venezuelans are searching for clues about his health. The Caracas military hospital where he stays is blocked by guards to keep out reporters and onlookers.
Former presidential candidate Enrique Capriles is demanding that the government be more transparent about Chavez's health, Euro News reported.