Venezuela says Chavez's breathing problems have worsened
CARACAS (REUTERS) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's breathing problems have worsened and he is suffering from a "severe" new respiratory infection as he struggles to recover from cancer surgery, the government said in a medical update on Monday.
The 58-year-old socialist leader has not been seen in public nor heard from in almost three months since undergoing the operation in Cuba. It was his fourth surgery since the disease was detected in mid-2011.
"Today, there is a worsening of his respiratory function, related to his depressed immune system. There is now a new, severe infection," Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said, reading the latest brief statement on Mr Chavez's condition.
Mr Chavez made a surprise pre-dawn homecoming two weeks ago with none of the fanfare and celebration that had accompanied previous returns from treatment in Havana. The government said he is now fighting for his life at a Caracas military hospital.