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Venezuela's Chavez reported near death

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There has been a widespread call among Venezuelan politicians - as well as the Venezuelan people - for more truth regarding President Hugo Chavez's health condition. Chavez underwent cancer surgery in Cuba last month, and very little has been heard from him since. Chavez has reportedly suffered bleeding and a respiratory infection following his surgery.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Officials have finally acknowledged that the talkative and colorful former soldier's health is delicate after his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months.

The head of the opposition Democratic Unity coalition Ramon Aveledo denounced the government for not keeping its word about keeping Venezuelans properly informed.

"The official version (of Chavez's health) hides more information than it gives," Aveledo said at a press conference. "The vice president himself has promised to tell the truth, whatever it is. Fine, he should tell it. He should tell the whole truth."

The Venezuelan government has provided none of the signature videos or pictures released after Chavez was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011 and his relapse in 2012.
 
Sources at the hospital in Cuba told newspaper journalists that Chavez remains in an induced coma being kept alive by life support he was showing "very weak" vital signs, adding that doctors could decide to switch off the machines "at any moment."

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, whom Chavez last month designated as his heir apparent says that he was returning to Venezuela after several days visiting with Chavez and his relatives.

The president's son-in-law and Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is in Havana, said via his Twitter account on that the medical team, told him Chavez's condition "remains stable" but that his health is still delicate.

"Commander Chavez is fighting hard and he sends his love to the people. Dedication and patience!!!" he tweeted.

Venezuela's oil-financed socialism has made Chavez a hero to the poor majority -- but a nemesis to critics who have denounced him as a dictator.

If Chavez dies or steps aside, new elections would be held within 30 days, with Maduro running as the Socialist Party candidate. Chavez officially named Vice President Maduro as his successor, an active member of the country's government since Chavez assumed power in 1998.

As vice president, Maduro has been influential in designing the country's radical anti-imperialist policy. He has worked to grow Venezuela's relationship with Iran, Russia and China.

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