VP: Chavez suffers ‘scare’

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has suffered “new complications” after a cancer operation in Cuba, his vice-president has said.

In a televised address from Cuba, Nicolas Maduro said Chavez continued to be in a “delicate state”.

Hugo Chavez is said to be in a delicate condition.

Chavez underwent his fourth cancer operation on 11 December in Cuba but suffered a respiratory infection.

The president – who has been in power since 1999 – is due to be sworn in on 10 January for another six-year term.

Maduro did not give details about Chavez’s condition but said the latest complications were connected to the respiratory infection.

“We have been informed of new complications that arose as a consequence of the respiratory infection we already knew about,” he said.

“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.”

He added that the treatment was “not without risk.”

Maduro, appearing solemn, spoke alongside Chavez’s eldest daughter, Rosa, his son-in-law Jorge Arreaza, and Venezuelan Attorney General Cilia Flores.

The vice-president said he would remain in Havana “for the coming hours” but did not specify how long.

Following Maduro’s announcement, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas appeared in a special programme on Venezuelan TV, calling on Venezuelans not to believe rumours about the president’s health. (BBC)

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