Chavez "stable" after respiratory infection

Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:36pm EST
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By Andrew Cawthorne

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez suffered a respiratory infection but is "stable" again in a Cuban hospital following cancer surgery a week ago, the government said on Tuesday.

Chavez, 58, is battling to recover from a fourth operation since he was first diagnosed with the disease in mid-2011.

"The general condition of the commander-president is stable after he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and the medical team treated him immediately," Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said in the latest update on Chavez.

"It has been controlled."

Villegas said Venezuela's socialist leader, who has ruled the South American OPEC nation for 14 years, had been ordered to take "complete rest" and follow medical instructions strictly.

"This type of infection is one of the most common consequences in patients who have undergone complicated surgery, like President Chavez did last December 11," Villegas added.


Though Venezuelan officials are upbeat about Chavez's possibility of recovery, speculation is rife that he may have to step down from power, or might not even survive.   Continued...

Venezuelan President and presidential candidate Hugo Chavez greets supporters during a campaign rally in the district of Catia in Caracas September 17, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Silva