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
That political protest in Venezuela has lost momentum seems pretty obvious: people are no longer building barricades to block off streets near Plaza Francia in Altamira (eastern Caracas), an anti-government stronghold; no new images have been shown of brave and dashing protesters with bandanna-covered faces clashing with the National Guard in San Cristóbal, in the western state of Táchira; and those who dreamed of a horde of "Gochos" (Tachirans) descending in an avalanche to stir up revolt in Caracas have been left with no option but to wake up to reality.