CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez suffered more complications linked to a respiratory infection that hit him after his fourth cancer operation in Cuba, the vice president said in a somber broadcast on Sunday.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro flew to Cuba to see Chavez in hospital as supporters' fears grow for the ailing 58-year-old socialist leader, who has not been seen in public nor heard from in three weeks.
Officials have said that Chavez already suffered unexpected bleeding caused by the six-hour operation for an undisclosed form of cancer in his pelvic area, and that doctors then had to fight a respiratory infection.
"Just a few minutes ago we were with President Chavez. He greeted us and he himself talked about these complications," Maduro said in the broadcast, adding that the new complications arose because of the respiratory infection.
Flanked by his wife, Attorney-General Cilia Flores, a government minister who is Chavez's son-in-law, and one of the president's daughters, Maduro said he would remain in Havana while his boss's condition evolved.
His resignation for health reasons, or his death, would upend the politics of the South American OPEC nation where his personalized brand of oil-financed socialism has made him a hero to the poor but a pariah to critics who call him a dictator.
(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Eric Walsh and Paul Simao)
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