Hugo Chavez ‘battling’ for life
A woman holds pictures of Jesus Christ and Hugo Chavez outside the military hospital where he is being treated (Reuters file)
Venezuela's vice president says that President Hugo Chavez is fighting for his life while he continues to undergo treatment more than two months after his latest cancer surgery.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on television that Chavez "is battling there for his health, for his life, and we're accompanying him."
The vice president has used similar phrasing in the past, saying on December 20 that Chavez "is fighting a great battle ... for his life, for his health."
Chavez hasn't spoken publicly since before his latest cancer operation in Cuba on December 11. He returned to Venezuela on February 18, and the government says he has been undergoing more treatment at a military hospital in Caracas.
Maduro also called for Venezuelans to keep praying for Chavez and to remain loyal to the president. He said Chavez's health had suffered because he had dedicated himself "body and soul" to his work as president.
Chavez himself has previously acknowledged that he was neglecting his health in recent years, often staying up late and drinking dozens of cups of coffee a day.
The president has undergone surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments since June 2011, when he first announced his cancer diagnosis. He hasn't specified the type of cancer or the exact location in his pelvic region where his tumours have been removed.