Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez poses for a photo with his daughters, Maria Gabriela, left, and Rosa Virginia at an unknown location in Havana, Cuba, Feb. 14, 2013.
Venezuela's government showed the first photos of ailing President
Hugo Chavez in more than two months on Friday, presenting images of him
smiling alongside his daughters in Cuba.
smiling broadly and looking at Thursday's issue of the Cuban Communist
Party newspaper Granma in the photos, which were shown on television by
Chavez's son-in-law, Science Minister Jorge Arreaza.
government released the images amid widespread speculation and rumors in
Venezuela about Chavez's condition following his Dec. 11 cancer
surgery. Chavez hasn't been seen or directly heard from since he left
for Cuba on Dec. 10, in contrast to previous stays for medical treatment
Minister Ernesto Villegas said Friday that Chavez is breathing through a
tracheal tube that makes it difficult for him to speak. Government
opponents have been demanding more information about Chavez's condition,
and have been asking why he hasn't spoken to the nation to explain his
Vice President Nicolas Maduro has traveled repeatedly to Havana, and
Maduro has shown on television documents signed by Chavez. On Wednesday,
Maduro said that Chavez is now undergoing "extremely complex and tough"
treatments, which he didn't specify.
consulted by The Associated Press have said the government's recent
account of "systemic medical treatment" could mean various types of
chemotherapy or drug treatments, depending on the type of cancer.
58-year-old president has been undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba
on-and-off since June 2011. He has had tumors removed from his pelvic
region, and has also undergone prior rounds of chemotherapy and
Since December, the government has
provided regular updates, though there have been fewer updates in recent
weeks, and often with only vague descriptions of Chavez's condition.