The Straits Times
Published on Jan 27, 2013

Chavez has beaten respiratory infection: minister


SANTIAGO (AFP) - President Hugo Chavez has beaten a severe respiratory infection that occurred after his latest cancer surgery in Cuba, Venezuelan Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said Saturday in Santiago.

"The respiratory infection has been overcome, although there still is some degree of breathing difficulty that is being treated appropriately," he said on the sidelines of a regional summit with European Union leaders in the Chilean capital.

Mr Chavez, who had surgery on Dec 11, has not been seen in public since he left Caracas for surgery at a hospital in communist Cuba.

Throughout his illness, first detected in June 2011, Mr Chavez has refused to relinquish the powers of the presidency, even when leaving for Havana.