Cancer-Stricken Chavez 'Enters New Phase of Treatment'
MEXICO CITY, January 20 (RIA Novosti) – Venezuela's cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez is entering a new phase of treatment after finishing post-operative care, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Sunday.
"The president's condition and the functioning of all vital organs stabilize, he is conscious. He has more vital forces to enter the next phase of treatment, which will be officially announced," Maduro told Venezuelan media.
After visiting Chavez in Havana on January 14, Maduro said the Venezuelan leader "is recovering from surgery" and 'the entire infection phase has been controlled,' referring to Chavez's respiratory problem.
Univision channel said on Friday Chavez was transferred from the intensive care unit to a secret underground bunker-hospital in Havana, which was designed for emergency medical assistance to Fidel Castro.
Hundreds of security agents and physicians took part in the operation. This was made to avoid leakage of information about Chavez's health and possibly start preparation for sending him to Caracas.
Chavez, 58, who has ruled Venezuela for 13 years, underwent four operations for cancer and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela within a year. He underwent his fourth surgery to remove cancerous tissue in Cuba on December 11.
According to the latest official reports, Chavez is being treated for ''respiratory deficiency'' after complications from a severe lung infection.
Spain's ABC newspaper said citing hospital sources in Havana that the Venezuelan leader was in an induced coma and on life support. Other media said Chavez suffered a heart attack, seriously lost weight and has an ongoing problem with the respiratory system.
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