02-20-2019  2:31 am      •     
Mariano Castillo CNN
Published: 05 March 2013

Hugo Chavez

(CNN) -- Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro met with the country's top officials Tuesday after the nation's information minister reported that the condition of President Hugo Chavez, fighting a battle with cancer, has worsened, state TV reported.

Chavez first announced he had cancer in 2011. He spent more than two months in treatment in Cuba recently, returning to Venezuela two weeks ago.

Since Chavez underwent surgery on December 11, government accounts about his health have been vague. The last glimpse Venezuelans had of their leader was last month when the government released a series of photographs that showed a smiling Chavez -- his face bloated -- lying on a blue pillow, flanked by his two daughters.

On Monday, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Chavez was battling a new infection and that his breathing problems had worsened.

"There is a worsening of the respiratory function, related to the state of his depressed immune system," Villegas said, reading an official statement on state-run VTV.

He reported Chavez is battling a new and "severe" infection, stressing that his overall condition remains "very delicate." Chavez is undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments, he said.

"The president continues to hold fast to Christ and to life, aware of the difficulties he's facing," Villegas said.

Maduro said Friday that Chavez is "fighting for his life." The president began chemotherapy after his fourth cancer surgery in Cuba in December, and he is continuing the "intense" treatment at a military hospital in Caracas, according to Maduro.

The president's allies maintain he is continuing to run the country, while critics say Venezuela is in limbo without a leader, and are demanding more details on his health.


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