May 22, 2013
Venezuelan VP says Chávez 'absolutely aware of his situation'
Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro stated during an interview that President Hugo Chávez is "aware of the complex situation he is going through," and blasted the press over the rumours about of his condition.
During an interview with Telesur TV channel, Maduro affirmed that Chávez is facing the illness with "dignity and courage" and said he felt a "gigantic strength" when he shaked his hand at the hospital in Cuba.
Earlier today, Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is married to Chávez's daughter Rosa Virginia, said Chávez is in stable condition and spent Monday with his daughters, in an appeal for supporters to ignore rumours about his condition.
Chávez has not been seen in public nor heard from in more than three weeks. The vice-president said on Sunday that the 58-year-old was suffering a third set of complications after surgery in Cuba on Dec. 11, his fourth operation in 18 months.
"Compatriots, don't believe in ill-intentioned rumours," Arreaza wrote on Twitter from Havana where they have been at the former soldier's bedside.
"President Chávez spent the day quietly and stable, together with his daughters."
Chávez has not provided details of the cancer that was first diagnosed in June 2011, leading to speculation among Venezuela's 29 million people and criticism from opposition leaders.
Officials have said he suffered unexpected bleeding as result of the complex, six-hour operation on his pelvic area, and that doctors had to fight a respiratory infection, which then caused his latest setback on Sunday.
The government has repeatedly described Chávez's condition as "delicate," warning Venezuelans to prepare for difficult days ahead and urging them to pray for "el Comandante."
The main New Year's Eve party in downtown Caracas was cancelled. Instead, the information minister hosted a smaller gathering which featured musicians, speeches and prayers and was dubbed "Now More Than Ever With Chávez."