Chavez Overcomes Respiratory Infection, Venezuelan Government Says

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has beaten his respiratory infection and his recovery continues to be favourable, the Venezuelan government has reported.


Mérida, 28th January 2013 ( – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has beaten his respiratory infection and his recovery continues to be favourable, the Venezuelan government has reported.

Chavez is in Havana, Cuba, recovering from an operation in the pelvic region last December to remove a cancerous lesion. The operation was his fourth for cancer in eighteen months.

The latest official update on his recovery, released Saturday, said, “At present the serious respiratory infection has been overcome, although a certain grade of respiratory insufficiency persists, which is being duly treated”.

The statement also reported that given Chavez’s continued “favourable” clinical progress, “systematic medical treatment for the base illness [cancer] has begun to be applied, as a compliment to the surgery undergone last 11 December”.

The medical section of the update concluded by stating, “The Commander Chavez has been fully complying with medical treatment and has always been active in his process of recovery, which has not concluded”.

The statement was read by the Venezuelan minister of communication, Ernesto Villegas, from Santiago de Chile, where a summit between the European Union (EU) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was underway.

Villegas further confirmed in the statement that Chavez has continued to exercise a level of decision-making power while in his process of recovery by reviewing documents and meeting with leaders of his government.


In a subsequent interview with Venezuelan private channel Venevision, Ernesto Villegas stressed that while the positive developments in Chavez’s recovery had “brought happiness”, the Venezuelan government “doesn’t want to create false expectations about [the timing of Chavez’s] return”.

The Venezuelan opposition has maintained a hard line during recent weeks. Many opposition figures argue that there has been a “violation” of the constitution and a “state coup” because Chavez was unable to attend his presidential swearing-in, even though the Supreme Court had previously ruled that a delay in the ceremony was legal.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles claimed yesterday that the government was “shamelessly lying” about Chavez’s health.

In reference to Chavez’s absence from the public light since his operation, the former presidential candidate argued, “Someone can sign documents and make jokes and can’t speak to the country? Someone is lying to you…they [the government] only care about defending their power”.

The opposition also continues to claim that Venezuela is being “run by Cuba” in the current situation, with leader of the right-wing Popular Will party, Leopoldo Lopez, declaring yesterday that, “It’s the Castro brothers who are making the decisions in Venezuela”.

Such charges have been strongly rejected by the government. Vice President Nicolas Maduro declared in a recent interview that “we have advised our public continually and truthfully” on Chavez’s state of health, while also respecting his privacy as a patient.

Meanwhile pro-government journalist and political scientist Nicmer Evans said in his weekly column today that “the return of Chavez is imminent, after a highly risky operation and complicated convalescence. This return, still not officially set, could be in no more than four weeks”.

He further argued that while various scenarios are possible upon Chavez’s return, the Bolivarian process would likely assume “a more shared or collective leadership” and that “Chavismo and the Venezuelan people should prepare themselves for a change in the political dynamic in comparison with the last fourteen years”.