Chavez Breathing Through a Tube

Venezuela admits leader in less than perfect health

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 22, 2013 9:15 AM CST

(Newser) – Hugo Chavez may be back in Venezuela, but all is not well for the socialist strongman. Chavez is suffering from respiratory problems and breathing through a tracheal tube, and he still struggles to speak, the government announced yesterday. "The tendency has not been favorable, so it is still being treated," the statement read, though it did note that treatment was going well for Chavez's "base illness," which Reuters assumes means his cancer.

Chavez's health has been a matter of intense speculation in Venezuela. Many think he will resign and throw his weight behind his vice president, and some even believe that he simply returned home to die. The only doctors treating Chavez right now are Cuban transplants, a source tells Reuters; no one else has been allowed through the tight security around his hospital suite.

A man hangs a pro-Chavez banner outside the hospital where Hugo Chavez is receiving treatment in Caracas.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez celebrate his return to the country outside the military hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013.   (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
People drink beverages at a food stand where a poster hangs of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
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