UK & World News

  • 22 February 2013, 5:35

Hugo Chavez 'Suffering Respiratory Problems'

Venezuela's cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez is still suffering from respiratory problems, according to the country's information minister.

The 58-year-old, who returned home on Monday after his fourth cancer surgery and more than two months of recovery in Cuba, will receive more treatment, Ernesto Villegas said.

In a statement broadcast on TV and radio stations in Venezuela, he said Mr Chavez's condition has "not been favourable".

He said: "Medical treatment for the underlying condition continues without present significant adverse effects so far."

In contrast to Mr Chavez's usual bombastic style, he announced his return on his Twitter account.

Since his surgery on December 11, the only photos released of him showed him bed-ridden but smiling, looking through a newspaper with two of his daughters by his side.

At the military hospital in Caracas where he is recovering, soldiers are on guard outside to keep out journalists.

Local press reports quote hospital employees as saying they know nothing and have not seen the president.

Bolivian President Evo Morales came to Caracas on Tuesday, but even he was not allowed to see Mr Chavez.

Speaking at the UN, Mr Morales said the Venezuelan leader "is in a very difficult spot with his health".

Mr Chavez has been undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba on and off since June 2011. He has said he has had tumours removed from his pelvic region and undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

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