View of a banner that shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in front of the Military Hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, 01 March 2013. After been operated on 11 December 2012, Chavez is 'battling for his health, for his life,' his deputy Nicolas Maduro is reported saying. EFE
Caracas, Mar 2 (EFE).- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has received "complementary treatments" of chemotherapy after being operated in December for a recurrence of cancer, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said.
"The doctors with President Chavez decided to begin complementary treatments. You understand what complementary treatments are, right? Well, they're the chemotherapies given to patients after operations," Maduro told reporters Friday after a Mass imploring good health for the head of state.
He recalled that Chavez "had chemotherapy and radiation after his operations in 2012."
He said that after "a general improvement" in Chavez's condition, it was decided to begin the treatments, and noted that the president, 58, is now "stronger."
According to Maduro, Chavez himself took the decision to return to Venezuela, where he is staying at the Military Hospital in Caracas, for the "new phase" of "complementary treatments that are more complex and harder."
"The treatments that Comandante Chavez is receiving are hard, but he is now stronger than the treatments he is being given and is in good spirits, fighting, having his treatments," Maduro said.
He said that Chavez, who breathes through a tracheal tube due to a respiratory insufficiency that has not yet improved, communicates "in writing and other ways that he himself has invented."
Hours before, Maduro asked for an end to "the attack against the comandante," while opposition leader Henrique Capriles accused him of lying about the president's illness.
Denouncing the "bourgeoisie" for continual attacks on Chavez, the vice president called on the president's supporters to show "confidence, unity and revolutionary strength.
The leftist head of state returned to Venezuela 11 days ago after spending more than two months in Cuba due to complications that followed a Dec. 11 cancer surgery in Havana.
Chavez, 58, has undergone four operations as well as courses of chemotherapy and radiation since he was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011.
In office since 1999, Chavez was re-elected last October and is due to serve until January 2019.
Venezuela's Supreme Court said Chavez could miss the scheduled Jan. 10 inauguration and be sworn-in later and that Maduro could continue as acting head of state pending the president's recovery.