Venezuela’s Chavez undergoes treatment for severe lung infection
CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is being treated for “respiratory deficiency” after complications from a severe lung infection, his government said, pointing to a deepening crisis for the ailing 58-year-old president.
Chavez hasn’t spoken publicly or been seen since his Dec. 11 operation in Cuba, and the latest report from his government Thursday night increased speculation that he is unlikely to be able to be sworn in for another term as scheduled in less than a week. It was the first time the government has described the lung infection as “severe,” and the strongest confirmation yet that Chavez is having serious trouble breathing after days of rumors about his condition worsening.
Independent medical experts said the government’s account stated that it’s unclear whether Chavez is attached to a ventilator.
The government expressed confidence in Chavez’s medical team and condemned what it called a “campaign of psychological warfare” in the international media regarding the president’s condition. Officials have urged Venezuelans not to heed rumors about Chavez’s condition.