Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has suffered new complications after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president Nicolas Maduro said, adding that his condition is “delicate” due to a respiratory infection.
In a televised address to the nation, Maduro said he had spoken with Chavez and that the president sent good wishes to his nation. However, the vice president did not provide details regarding the president’s health complications.
"We have been informed of new complications that arose as a consequence of the respiratory infection we already knew about. The president gave us precise instructions so that, after finishing the visit, we would tell the (Venezuelan) people about his current health condition. The state of health of President Chavez continues to be delicate,” Maduro said, according to BBC.
The vice president's statements indicate the ailing Chavez’s growingly hard battle for life. The Venezuelan leader has neither been in the public arena nor publically heard after he underwent his fourth cancer-related surgery on Dec.11. According to authorities, he may not be seen or heard before his planned Jan. 10, 2013 inaugural ceremony of a new six-year term.
Maduro said he had met several times with Chavez’s medical squad and family members. He said the leader’s treatment is not without risks and that he would stay in Havana “for the coming hours” but didn’t specify how long.
Meanwhile, energy Minister Hector Navarro has been charged with supervising Venezuela’s government affairs.
Ahead of his surgery, Chavez said he faced risks and nominated Maduro as his successor, telling his followers they should elect his vice president if a new presidential vote were needed. The Venezuelan leader also acknowledged that his cancer had returned regardless of several surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Chavez has been battling a mysterious pelvic cancer since June 2011. According to Venezuela’s constitution, if there is a complete absence of the president, fresh vote must be held within 30 days.
“Mentioning twice in his nationally televised speech that Chavez has suffered new complications only reinforces the appearance that the situation is serious,” said David Smilde, a University of Georgia sociologist and analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America think tank, according to the Washington Post.
Venezuela's Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said late on Sunday that a government-sponsored New Year's Eve show in central Caracas had been quashed and Venezuelans should pray for President Chavez.