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Venezuela Says Chávez Still Suffering From Respiratory Problems

A handout picture made available Friday by the Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and Information shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his daughters Rosa Virginia (right) and Maria Gabriela reading an edition of Cuban daily Granma, as he recovers from cancer surgery. It was reportedly taken on Thursday. EPA /LANDOV hide caption

toggle caption EPA /LANDOV

A handout picture made available Friday by the Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and Information shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his daughters Rosa Virginia (right) and Maria Gabriela reading an edition of Cuban daily Granma, as he recovers from cancer surgery. It was reportedly taken on Thursday.

EPA /LANDOV

The Venezuelan government released an update on ailing President Hugo Chávez late Thursday.

"The respiratory deficiency that arose in the course of the postoperative period persists, and its tendency has not been favorable, for which reason he continues to be treated," the information minister, Ernesto Villegas, said according to The New York Times.

On Monday, Chávez returned to Venezuela from Cuba, where he was receiving treatment for an unspecified kind of cancer. Yesterday's update was the first since he returned.

USA Today adds:

"The statement said Chávez, who is being treated in a Caracas military hospital, was in touch with family members and friends, his political team and his medical staff.

"'The president holds firm to Christ, with the maximum desire to live,' the communique said.

"The flamboyant, 58-year-old Venezuelan leader, who has governed for 14 years, has yet to be sworn in for a new six-year term following his re-election in October."

It was just a day ago, that Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, a Chávez ally, said that Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro would be in a good position to take over the presidency.

"Regardless of who may take charge, my main concern is that Chavez recovers ... but in case he cannot be in charge, Vice President Maduro is extremely capable," Correa said in an interview with Reuters.

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