Chavez ′battling′ for his life, says Venezuelan VP | News | DW | 01.03.2013
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Chavez 'battling' for his life, says Venezuelan VP

Venezuela's vice president has said that Hugo Chavez is fighting for his health in a televised address. Chavez recently returned from cancer treatment in Cuba, but is suffering from a respiratory infection.

Few details emerged about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his vice president's address on state television. Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the ailing president's condition as having reached a "complex and difficult" stage.

The long-time leader only recently returned to his homeland following cancer treatment in Cuba. A respiratory infection, which he developed after his surgery, was preventing Chavez from making a public speech, the government previously said.

Chavez recently announced that he had returned to Venezuela, though he only did so via Twitter, and the vice president's latest description of Chavez's health was ambiguous.

"[President Chavez is] battling for his health, for his life, and we are accompanying him," said Maduro on state-run television.

"Do you know why Comandante Chavez neglected his health and has been battling [cancer] for nearly two years?" he asked. "Because he completely surrendered body and soul and forgot all his obligations to himself in order to give himself to the homeland."

Maduro's description of Chavez current state resembled wording used late last year when the president's cancer relapsed.

Government officials have said little about the long-time leader's health since December, when he travelled to Cuba for cancer treatment. The prolonged absence from the public spotlight eventually drew speculation from critics about Chavez's ability to begin his fourth term as president.

His supporters struck back several times during his convalescence abroad to ensure that he remained at the top of the Venezuelan government, winning a case that delayed his inauguration indefinitely.

Chavez, 58, has received cancer treatments in Cuba on numerous occasions since his conidtion was first made public in June 2011.

kms/msh (AFP, AP)

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