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Venezuelans on edge amid shifting news on Chavez

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 1, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.

— Supporters and opponents of President Hugo Chavez alike nervously welcomed the new year Tuesday, left on edge by shifting signals from the government about the Venezuelan leader’s health three weeks after cancer surgery in Cuba.

Chavez has not been seen or heard from since the Dec. 11 operation, and officials have reported a series of ups and downs in his recovery — the most recent, late Sunday, announcing that a respiratory infection had put the president in a “delicate” state.

Jorge Rodriguez, a Chavez ally and mayor of a Caracas district, reiterated on Tuesday that the president is going through a “complex post-operative process.”

Political opponents of the socialist Chavez have complained that the government hasn’t told the country enough about his health, and even some of his supporters said Tuesday that they wished they knew more.

Chavez has been fighting an undisclosed type of pelvic cancer since June 2011. He has declined to reveal the precise location of the tumors that have been surgically removed. The president announced on Dec. 8 that his cancer had come back despite previous surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

The Venezuelan government has not given details about Chavez’s latest complications beyond saying that they arose from the respiratory infection.

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