Chavez suffers complications from cancer surgery
Is it a death watch? Hugo's designated successor and vice president Nicolas Maduro is in Cuba where Chavez underwent cancer surgery a few weeks ago.
The bulletins are not sounding promising:
"President Chavez's state of health continues to be delicate, with complications that are being treated in a process that is not without risks," he said.
Maduro spoke in Havana, Cuba, where Chavez is undergoing treatment. He said he met with Chavez, who has not been seen in public or heard from for weeks.
"Thanks to his physical and spiritual strength, Comandante Chavez is confronting this difficult situation," Maduro said.
The Venezuelan president first announced he was battling cancer in June 2011.
Chavez, 58, has not disclosed what type of cancer he has, and the Venezuelan government has released few details about his illness, fueling widespread speculation about his health and political future.
Last year, Chavez had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and has undergone further surgery and radiation in Cuba since. He returned to the island nation this month to undergo another surgery after publicly revealing that his cancer had returned.
He underwent a six-hour surgical procedure on December 11 that Maduro, in a televised address, declared a success.
A week after the president's surgery, the Venezuelan information minster said Chavez was battling a respiratory infection. Minister Ernesto Villegas said then that the infection was under control.
The last two weeks of the presidential campaign, Chavez could hardly stand long enough to deliver a short speech. But the wording of the vice president's statement was very pessimistic - especially the part about his treatment not being "without risks."
There will be a lot of tension if Chavez dies and Maduro takes power. But it is not likely there will be a power struggle given that the security apparatus will continue their loyalty to the Chavistas. Maduro lacks Chavez's charisma but has shown himself to be just as ruthless. It will be interesting to see his first moves when he accedes to power.