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Chavez Suffering From Breathing Problems

  • VOA News

A woman holds a picture of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez as supporters gather at Simon Bolivar square in Caracas,Venezuela, Dec. 9, 2012.

A woman holds a picture of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez as supporters gather at Simon Bolivar square in Caracas,Venezuela, Dec. 9, 2012.

Venezuela's information minister says President Hugo Chavez is suffering from a "new and severe" infection that has made it harder for him to breathe.

Information Minister Ernesto Villegas made the statement from a Caracas military hospital where the 58-year-old Chavez is being treated. He said the cancer-stricken leader has a "severe infection" and is in delicate condition.

On Saturday, Venezuela's vice president said President Chavez is still in charge of the country and making policy decisions even as he undergoes chemotherapy in a military hospital.

Nicolas Maduro said on Venezuelan television that Chavez sent a batch of policy papers to his Cabinet as recently as Friday.

Maduro earlier described the president's treatments as tough and said he is fighting for his life. But he says Chavez is in good spirits and that he is stronger than the exhausting chemotherapy treatments.

Chavez went into a Caracas hospital last month after spending two months in Cuba, forcing him to miss his January 10 inauguration for another six-year term.


The Venezuelan government has given few details of the president's illness other than saying he has a cancer in his pelvis.

The opposition has accused officials of lying about Chavez's condition.
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