HAVANA TIMES — The first official photos of the ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from his Havana, Cuba hospital bed were released on Friday morning, nine weeks after he underwent surgery for the fourth time in a year and a half.
Chavez appears with his two eldest daughters in the hospital where he continues to receive treatment in his fight against cancer.
Due to the great interest among our readers as to the state of Chavez’s health we present a translation of the Caracas based TeleSur report.
First Photos of President Chavez in Recovery
Venezuela’s Minister of Communications and Information, Ernesto Villegas, on Friday released the first images of President Hugo Chavez in recovery from the operation he underwent on December 11 in Havana to remove cancerous cells from his “pelvic area”.
The shots show the president along with his two daughters, Maria Gabriela and Rosa Virginia, who are in Havana to support him during his recovery.
Villegas said that since the surgery that was performed on President Hugo Chavez two months ago, “the patient is conscious, with integral intellectual functioning and carrying out tasks inherent in his office.”
The respiratory infection that affected the president after his December 11 operation “is under control – though it persists to a certain degree, but is being properly treated,” explained Villegas.
Villegas said a tracheotomy had been performed on the Venezuelan president, “which makes speech difficult,” but “aggressive treatment for the underlying disease” is continuing.
“The patient is cooperating with the treatment in close coordination with his medical team,” he added.
The Venezuelan government “thanks the people of Venezuela for their love, serenity and fortitude accompanying Commander Chavez.”
The Venezuelan government also thanked Cuban President Raul Castro; Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution; the doctors and the Cuban people “for the care you have given our president.”
“We trust that Commander Chavez will sooner or later overcome this delicate circumstance for the good of our country,” concluded the head of the Ministry of Communications and Information.
The struggle for recovery
The president’s struggle against cancer began in June 2011, when he had to undergo two emergency surgeries after a pelvic abscess was detected, and subsequently a carcinogenic lesion.
On June 30, Chavez addressed the country to report — from Havana, and while in the middle of his recovery process — on “the existence of an abscessed tumor (in his pelvic region) with the presence of cancer cells.”
On July 16 the president began the first of four radiation-therapy phases that he had to undergo – sessions that lasted until September of that year.
On October 20, after returning from one of his trips to Cuba, the president announced that he had undergone another medical examination in which no “active malignant cells” were detected in his body.
In February 2012, Chavez revealed the appearance of a lesion in the site where the tumor had been diagnosed the previous June. He immediately underwent a third operation. Weeks later, on March 4, it was reported that there had been “a recurrence of cancer” after that operation.
Between March and May 2012 he traveled to Havana weekly to undergo five radiotherapy treatments. After which he reported that his medical condition had stabilized.
Months later, after winning the presidential election on October 7, in late November the president made another trip to Cuba. On his return, on December 8, he announced the appearance of “malignant cells” in the same region as the previous ailment – a condition that forced him to undergo a fourth surgery in less than two years.
The president underwent another operation this past December 11, after which time his condition improved – described as a “progressive and favorable recovery of normal vital signs.”
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday that President Hugo Chavez continues battling in his recovery process, assimilating the new phase of medical treatment which he’s undergoing in Havana.
“We went through extremely complex days in December. In January he concluded the post-operative cycle. Today (Chavez) is undergoing additional treatments, as we’ve reported, highly sophisticated and difficult treatments,” he said.
The senior official also said the president is “moving forward, assimilating, as he (Chavez) would say, in a spirit of battle” through the next phase of the treatment.
During Maduro’s most recent visit to Havana, he held meetings with Chavez’s family and his medical team, to whom he delivered a message of solidarity on behalf of the Venezuelan people for their accompanying the president “24-hours a day.”
Read here the full statement (in Spanish) by the Venezuelan government concerning the health of President Chavez: