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article imageVenezuelan president can't talk; breathing with tracheal tube

By Larry Clifton     Feb 15, 2013 in Politics
Caracas - More than two months after his fourth surgery for an aggressive cancer, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is unable to talk and breathing through a tracheal tube, according to a New York Times report.
A photo released Friday by the Venezuelan government shows a bed-ridden Chavez smiling with his daughters Rosa Virginia and María Gabriela at his side in the Cuban hospital where he underwent surgery on Dec 11, according to the report.
Believed by many to be a communist, Chavez nationalized companies including the Venezuelan oil industry and media and has governed under the mentoring of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Last year Chavez said if he could, he would vote for Barack Obama in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
Chavez had his first cancer-related surgery in Cuba during 2011. The president’s recovery from the latest attempt to remove cancer first discovered in his pelvic region was complicated by a severe lung infection that left him on a ventilator.
No video of Chavez has been released publically since his last surgery which has rallied the opposition and sparked reports of the Venezuelan president’s inability to govern and impending death. Chavez missed his own inauguration earlier this year after coasting to re-election in a landslide.
Nevertheless, government spokesmen say Chavez remains in charge of his faculties and is busy running the country from his hospital bed, even though he can’t talk.
“There he is with his family, always attentive to the people of Venezuela, always attentive and in charge of his functions, working tirelessly,” said Jorge Arreaza, the minister of science and technology who is married to daughter María Gabriela.
Unlike during previous medical convalesces in Cuba, Mr. Chávez has remained out of sight, not even posting on Twitter or telephoning a government television program since his last surgery. His prolonged silence has caused a stir as to his ability to govern that intensified when Chavez failed to attend his swearing in after the presidential election.
The opposition has consistently called for the government to prove Chavez is fit enough to lead the nation, and in some cases questioned whether he had already died.
On Friday, opposition leader Henrique Capriles responded to the release of the four pictures, posting on Twitter: “How the spokesmen of the government keep lying to the people.”
In another tweet he said: “A few days ago, the liars said they talked with the Pdt., now they say he can’t talk! They make fun of their own people.”
More about Hugo chavez, Henrique Capriles, World politics cuba castro, hugo chavez cancer, venezuelan opposition
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