by Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would have been a key figure in the summit of Latin American and Caribbean Nations taking place in Santiago de Chile but his health continues to be a big question mark from his hospital bed in Havana, Cuba.
On Saturday afternoon Chavez’s communications minister, Ernesto Villegas, informed that the Venezuelan president has begun to receive “systematic medical treatment for his base sickness” giving no indication what exactly that means.
Chavez has not been seen or heard from since his December 11 operation to extract cancerous cells, the fourth such surgery in a year and a half, all in the same “pelvic region”, also without explanation.
“Forty-five days after undergoing a complicated surgical procedure to extract a malignant lesion in his pelvis, with serious complications, the general evolution of the patient is favorable,” said Villegas. He added that Chavez would submit to new tests to closely monitor his situation.
The communications minister added that Chavez has continued to be up on the principal matters of Venezuela, “within the possibilities”, revising documentation and meeting with the top leaders of his government, carrying out his leadership with the taking of decisions on internal and foreign policy, said Telesur.
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government has condemned the Spanish newspaper El Pais for running a bogus photo, supposedly of a grotesque Chavez in his hospital bed. El Pais admitted its “error” in its Thursday edition and pulled newspapers from the stands as well as withdrew the photo from its online edition and made a public apology.
Venezuela became Cuba’s top trade partner, supplier of oil, and political ally under the Chavez administration which began in 1999. The charismatic leader was reelected to a new six-year term on October 7, 2011. Before traveling to Cuba on December 10 he designated Vice President Nicolas Maduro to be his successor if necessary.