Venezuela's Chavez may not be well by inauguration: Minister
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's information minister said on Wednesday there's a possibility that ailing President Hugo Chavez may not be well enough after his fourth cancer-related surgery in Cuba to return home in time for his Jan 10 inauguration.
Amid growing worries about Mr Chavez's health and the country's future, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas expressed hope about the president's recovery. But he said that if Mr Chavez isn't back for his scheduled swearing-in for a new six-year term, "our people should be prepared to understand it".
Villegas said it would be "irresponsible" to hide news about the "delicateness of the current moment and the days to come". He asked Venezuelans to see any potential delay in Mr Chavez's return as "when we have a sick father, in a delicate situation after four surgeries in a year and a half".
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro looked grim earlier in the day when he warned Venezuelans that Mr Chavez faces a "complex and hard" process after his latest surgery.