Opposition leaders have blamed vague information coming from the government for the persistent rumors about Chavez’s condition, and demanded a full medical report.
Chavez has undergone four cancer-related surgeries since June 2011 for an undisclosed type of pelvic cancer. He also has undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
He was re-elected in October to another six-year term, and two months later announced that the cancer had returned. Chavez said before the operation that if his illness prevented him from remaining president, Maduro should be his party’s candidate to replace him in a new election.
The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional criticized what it called an “information vacuum” in an editorial on Friday, saying Venezuelans are in the dark because “no one speaks clearly from the government.” The newspaper called the situation reminiscent of secrecy that surrounded the deaths of Josef Stalin in the former Soviet Union and Mao Zedong in China.
State television repeatedly played video of a song in which rappers encourage Venezuelans to pray, saying of Chavez: “You will live and triumph.” A recording of a speech by Chavez appears during the song, saying: “I will be with you always!”
This week, Cabello and the president’s elder brother Adan joined a parade of visitors who saw Chavez in Havana.
Brazil’s state-run Agencia Brasil news agency reported Friday that President Dilma Rousseff’s top international adviser, Marco Aurelio Garcia, also made a one-day visit to Cuba and spoke with Venezuelan and Cuban officials about Chavez’s health. It was unclear if Garcia actually saw Chavez.
AP Interactive: http://hosted.ap.org/interactives/2012/venezuela/
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