Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s breathing trouble has persisted and “the tendency hasn’t been favorable,” Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said this week according to a report.
Chavez, who is being treated for an undisclosed type of cancer at a Caracas military hospital, isn’t suffering significant adverse effects from the treatment of his “base illness,” Bloomberg quoted Villegas as saying during a speech broadcast on state television.
He added that the former paratrooper was in contact with his family and political team.
“Chavez is maintaining his faith in Christ,” Villegas said according to the news wire. “He has the maximum will to live and discipline in his health treatment.”
Chavez returned to Caracas on 18 February after more than two months of treatment in Cuba. Apart from photos released last week and Twitter messages sent by Chavez upon arrival, he hasn’t been seen or heard from since traveling to Havana for his fourth cancer surgery in 20 months.
No images of his arrival or hospital stay have been released by the government.
Villegas said 15 February that Chavez is suffering from a “delicate” respiratory infection that has left him speechless and requires the use of a tracheal tube.
Chavez has endured the “most difficult moments of his life,” Bolivian President Evo Morales, who didn’t get to see his close ally during a visit to Caracas this week, said 20 November in New York.
The self-proclaimed socialist’s surprise return sparked speculation he’ll soon step down and hand power to his hand- picked successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver and union leader. Maduro has been running affairs in Chavez’s absence.
Chavez’s deteriorating health triggered a 32% rally on Venezuelan dollar bonds over the past year as investors boosted bets he’ll be unable to complete another term, opening the door for a new regime that might introduce more market- friendly policies.