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He has not been seen for months and finally the Venezuelan government has issued its first official communique on the president’s health.

Despite the good wishes of his supporters cancer-stricken Hugo Chavez is still suffering respiratory problems after surgery in Cuba.

Venezuela’s Information minister read out a statement saying “The breathing insufficiency that emerged post-operation persists, and the tendency has not been favourable, so it is still being treated. Medical treatment for the underlying illness continues without significant adverse effects for now.”

Failed presidential candidate Enrique Capriles has been leading the calls for the government to be more open about Chavez’s health and his prognosis.

Although many celebrated his return from Cuba Chavez has remained in hospital unseen. Even a visiting Bolivian President Evo Morales was refused access. Chavez was re-elected last October but his swearing-in as president has been delayed because of his illness.

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