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Venezuelan officials deny Chavez health rumours


Latest update : 2011-06-26

Top Venezuelan officials on Saturday dismissed reports by Miami’s El Nuevo Herald that President Hugo Chavez, who has been in Cuba recovering from surgery since early June, is in “critical” condition.

AFP - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who is in Cuba following emergency surgery, is in "critical" but stable condition, Miami's El Nuevo Herald reported, citing US intelligence sources.

Chavez's government has said he was operated on for a pelvic abscess on June 10 and is recovering well; the president's brother has told Venezuelan state media that Chavez could return to Caracas in about two weeks.
But the Venezuelan government has not addressed details of Chavez's condition, and angry opposition lawmakers in Caracas say it is unconstitutional for the president to be governing from abroad.
The Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald on Saturday cited unnamed US intelligence sources as refusing to comment on rumors in Venezuela that Chavez could be receiving treatment for prostate cancer.
Yet one source told the paper that Chavez, 56, "is in critical condition; not on the brink of death, but critical indeed, and complicated."
The same sources said Chavez's daughter, Rosines, and his mother, Marisabel Rodriguez, were recently whisked off to Cuba in an air force plane.
"They took Marisabel and her daughter out urgently," another source told the paper.
Late Saturday several top Venezuelan government officials dismissed the report.
"Chavez will be around for a long time," Vice President Elias Jaua told reporters.
Information Minister Andres Izarra urged his Twitter followers to not repeat rumors. Chavez "is recovering well from his operation," Izarra said.
Chavez's enemies "should stop dreaming, and his friends should stop being nervous," added Temir Porras, a senior diplomat, in a Twitter message.
Chavez himself fired off a brief Twitter message saying that his youngest daughter and three grandchildren arrived in Cuba to visit him.
The firebrand leftist leader was hospitalized June 10 in Havana, his top regional ally, for what officials said was an operation for a pelvic abscess.
The uncharacteristic silence from someone known for his verbal omnipresence left some foes speculating that Chavez might have had plastic surgery, or might want to drum up sympathy for his illness ahead of a 2012 election in which he will seek a third term.
After almost two weeks of silence, Chavez took to Twitter on Friday but did not address the controversy over his time spent recovering in Cuba.
Chavez arrived in Cuba on June 8 on the final leg of a trip that also included Brazil and Ecuador. He was rushed into emergency surgery after suffering sharp pain diagnosed as a pelvic abscess that required immediate surgery.
Chavez is Communist Cuba's main economic and political ally. His cut-rate oil keeps the cash-strapped and isolated Raul Castro regime afloat.


Date created : 2011-06-26


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