Communication minister: Chávez breathes through a tracheal cannula
Venezuela's Information and Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas explained that President Hugo Chávez was put on assisted breathing due to lingering respiratory distress. After 68 days of absence, photos showing the president and his daughters reading the Granma daily newspaper edition of February 14, 2013 were published on Friday
"The respiratory infection that emerged during the post-operative stage was controlled, but some degree of respiratory distress remains. Given this circumstance, which is being treated accordingly, Commander Chávez is currently breathing through a tracheal cannula, which temporarily hinders his speech," explained Villegas.
"The medical team is administering a rigorous treatment to deal with the base disease, which is not exempt from complications. The patient cooperates with the treatment and rehab in close coordination with the medical team in charge," the minister added.
Villegas said that Chávez "is conscious, with full intellectual functions, and in close communication with his cabinet."
Additionally, photos of Chávez along with his daughters and reading the Granma newspaper edition of February 14 were published during a brief nationwide mandatory radio and television broadcast. The official statement came 68 days after the Venezuelan president left for Cuba to undergo surgery.
The pictures were disclosed by Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is Chávez's son-in-law.
Arreaza stressed that the post-surgery images would bring "calm" to the Venezuelan people and supplement the medical report provided.
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
President Nicolás Maduro is not only the heir to the throne, but also to an economic crisis which demanded urgent measures to rectify the course. The crisis showed up in two aspects: a 50% inflation estimate, and shortage of staples ranging between 70% and 98%. These issues might hit the President's poor popularity; considering his feeble electoral victory of 1% over his challenger.