Hugo Chavez 'battling for his life'
Supporters of Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez attend a rally in Caracas commemorating the 24th anniversary of the social uprising which Chavez said marked the start of his revolution. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters.
Venezuela’s vice president says that president Hugo Chavez is fighting for his life while he continues to undergo treatment more than two months after his latest cancer surgery.
Vice president Nicolas Maduro said on television last night that, in his words, Mr Chavez “is battling there for his health, for his life, and we’re accompanying him”.
The vice president has used similar phrasing in the past.
Mr Chavez hasn’t spoken publicly since before his latest cancer operation in Cuba on December 11th.
He returned to Venezuela on February 18th and has been undergoing more treatment at a military hospital in Caracas.
No images of Mr Chavez's return to Caracas were broadcast and the government said he isn't able to speak after doctors performed a tracheotomy to aid breathing, fueling speculation among investors that he won't be able to finish his term in office.
Under Venezuela's constitution, if Mr Chavez dies or steps down an election must be held within 30 days.
While announcing in December that he required further surgery to treat his cancer, Mr Chavez anointed Maduro as his successor and called on Venezuelans to vote for the former bus driver and union leader in the event that he didn't survive the operation.