Chavez still recovering from infection

Jan. 27, 2013 at 3:13 PM

SANTIAGO, Chile, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A spokesman said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is recovering from a lung infection he got after having cancer surgery.

Chavez underwent an operation 45 days ago, which removed a malignant tumor -- his third operation in 1 1/2 years, El Universal said.

Chavez had surgery in Cuba 45 days ago and took a turn for the worse Dec. 30, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Sunday. But since coming down with the lung infection Chavez has partially recovered, though his breathing is still sometimes labored, the Wall Street Journal said Sunday.

Questions have swirled after Chavez, 58, who was re-elected in 2012, missed his own swearing-in ceremony in October due to poor health. He has since traveled to Havana to receive cancer treatments.

Supporters have blamed opponents of the Socialist leader for spreading rumors of his imminent demise.

"Basically, [opponents are] terrified of Chavez, they're very afraid of Chavez, so they're only betting that Chavez won't return," Villegas said.

The government has given no timetable for Chavez's return to Venezuela, but said he remains up to date on state affairs while in Cuba.

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