The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is situated on the northern coast of South America. Home to an estimated population of 29.1 million, it covers around 916,445 square kilometres which includes the Andes mountains and the Amazon Basin Rainforest. Its main export is oil. Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 but continued resistance led in 1811 to it becoming the first Spanish American country to declare independence. A chequered political history followed which saw dictatorships rise and fall, as well as military coups. The current president is founder of the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, Hugo Chávez.
Chavez in ‘tough’ alternative treatment, says Maduro
Agence France-Presse in Caracas
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is undergoing “tough and complex” alternative medical treatment in Cuba, his handpicked successor Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday.
“Our comandante is undergoing additional treatments,” Maduro told state-owned VTV television after returning from a previously unannounced visit to Cuba to check up on the ailing president.
“The treatments are extremely tough and complex.”
Declining to provide details about the therapy, the vice president insisted that Chavez was facing his medical travails with a “fighting spirit” despite more than two months of absence from the public eye.
Maduro said Chavez’s brother Adan accompanied him on his trip to Havana, and that he met there with other relatives of the president, as well as his medical team.
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello was due to visit Chavez in Cuba in the coming days, according to Maduro.
Chavez, 58, has not been seen or heard from since his last cancer operation on December 11 in Havana, and any news about his health is closely monitored by the Venezuelans. Chavez is said to be still recovering at a hospital in Cuba’s capital.
The fiery Venezuelan leader was too sick to attend his own inauguration to a third term on January 10, prompting the government to delay the swearing-in indefinitely under an interpretation of the constitution that was heavily criticized by the opposition.
Throughout his illness, first detected in June 2011, Chavez has refused to relinquish the powers of the presidency.