CARACAS, (Reuters) – Cancer-stricken Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s lung infection has been controlled and his medical condition is developing positively, more than a month after his latest surgery in Cuba, the government said yesterday.
“Despite his delicate state … in recent days the general medical evolution has been favourable,” said the latest health update read by Information Minister Ernesto Villegas.
“The respiratory infection is controlled, though the commander-president still requires specific measures to solve breathing insufficiency … he is conscious.”
The relatively positive communique, which gave no more details on his condition, came as the three most powerful government figures after Chavez gathered in Havana to check on him and meet with Cuban allies.
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, Congress head Diosdado Cabello, and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez have been shuttling to and from Cuba since the 58-year-old socialist president’s fourth and most serious cancer operation a month ago.
Chavez, who missed his own inauguration for a new, six-year term last week, has not been seen or heard from in public since the surgery. Many Venezuelans are assuming his momentous 14-year rule of the South American OPEC nation could be nearing an end.
“We are all Chavez!” and “Chavez will return!” were among slogans sang and chanted at numerous solidarity rallies, meetings and concerts across Venezuela over the weekend, which drew thousands of passionate and anxious supporters.
Venezuelan state TV yesterday even split its screen into four to show events going on around the nation.
“The situation is complex and delicate,” Elias Jaua, a former vice-president and ally of Chavez, told one rally.
“He continues battling for his life.”
Villegas said Maduro, whom Chavez has designated his successor, informed his boss of the outpouring at home.
State media said Maduro, Cabello, Ramirez – who also heads the powerful state oil company PDVSA – and Attorney General Cilia Flores all met Cuban President Raul Castro over the weekend. But there were no details of the talks.