Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Leading human rights activist shot in Burundi's capital

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Migrant Crisis: The Blame Game

Read more

THE DEBATE

Kerry Middle East Tour

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Greek shares plunge as trading resumes in Athens

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Gulf countries need proof and guarantees'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The deadly French-English border'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Experimental Ebola vaccine could stop virus in West Africa

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#CecilTheLion : Hunter Becomes The Hunted

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Erdogan’s gamble: Turkey launches offensives on PKK and Islamic State Group (part 2)

Read more

Americas

Chavez in ‘very delicate’ condition with new infection

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-03-05

President Hugo Chavez has contracted a severe respiratory infection and is in a “very delicate” condition, the Venezuelan government said on Monday. Cancer-stricken Chavez has been undergoing chemotherapy following surgery in Cuba.

President Hugo Chavez is breathing with greater difficulty as a new and severe respiratory infection has taken hold, Venezuela’s government said, describing the cancer-stricken president’s condition as "very delicate."

A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old socialist leader’s deteriorating health.

Hugo Chavez

Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory.

Chavez, 58, has been undergoing “chemotherapy of strong impact,” Villegas added without providing further details.

Chavez has neither been seen nor heard from, except for “proof-of-life” photos released in mid-February, since submitting to a fourth round of surgery in Cuba on Dec. 11 for an unspecified cancer in the pelvic area. It was first diagnosed in June 2011.

The government says he returned home on Feb. 18 and has been confined to Caracas’ military hospital since.

Villegas said Chavez was "standing by Christ and life conscious of the difficulties he faces."

He also took the opportunity to lash out at "the corrupt Venezuelan right" for what he called a psychological war seeking "scenarios of violence as a pretext for foreign intervention."

He called on Chavez’s supporters, who include thousands of well-armed militiamen, to be "on a war footing."

Upon Chavez’s death, the opposition would contest the government’s candidate in a snap election that it argues should have been called after Chavez was unable to be sworn in on Jan. 10 as the constitution stipulates.

Indeed, the campaigning has already begun, although undeclared, with Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who Chavez has said should succeed him, frequently commandeering all broadcast channels Chavez-style to tout the "revolution" and vilify the opposition.

Chavez has run Venezuela for more than 14 years as a virtual one-man show, gradually placing all state institutions under his personal control. But the former army paratroop officer who rose to fame with a failed 1992 coup, never groomed a successor with his force of personality.

Chavez was last re-elected on Oct. 7, and his challenger, youthful Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles, is expected to again be the opposition’s candidate.

On state TV Monday night, opinion show host Mario Silva slung the latest volley of mud at Capriles, claiming his family had purchased a multi-million-dollar New York City apartment with stolen money.

Opposition lawmaker Julio Borges condemned Villegas’ political use of Monday night’s health bulletin. "I lament such a poverty of humanity," he tweeted.

Pro-Chavez militant Enrique Barroso sounded grave when reached by telephone.

"This is not easy for him nor for us," he said. "We call on the people to pray and hold vigil for the health of the president."

One of Chavez’s three daughters, Maria Gabriela, expressed thanks to well-wishers via her Twitter account. "We will prevail!" she wrote, echoing a favorite phrase of her father. "With God always."

There has been speculation that Chavez’s cancer has spread to his lungs and can’t be halted.

An oncologist not involved in Chavez’s treatment, which has been conducted in tightly enforced secrecy, told The Associated Press that he viewed Villegas’ statement as recognition that Chavez’s condition is "truly precarious."

He called into question the veracity of Villegas’ statement that Chavez had been undergoing chemotherapy, saying patients in such a delicate state are not put on chemotherapy.

Maduro said last week, in the first such announcement, that the president had begun receiving chemotherapy around the end of January.

Doctors have said that such therapy was not necessarily to try to beat Chavez’s cancer into remission but could have been palliative, to extend Chavez’s life and ease his suffering.

While in Cuba, Chavez suffered severe respiratory infection in late December that nearly killed him, Maduro said last week. A tracheal tube was inserted then and government officials have said his breathing remained labored.

They have sent mixed signals throughout Chavez’s post-operative days, and in an early February opinion survey nearly three in five Venezuelans said they believed the president whose largesse has endeared him to the poor would recover.

In Cuba, Chavez has undergone a series of radiation treatments and chemotherapy after his operations.

The entire treatment regimen was kept far from public scrutiny.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-03-05

  • Venezuela

    Chavez receiving chemo but in ‘good spirits,' VP says

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    Hugo Chavez announces return to Venezuela

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    Caracas releases first post-op photos of Chavez

    Read more

COMMENT(S)