Chavez Denies Report of Kidney Failure in Call to TV Show, Again

(Photo AP/Ariana Cubillos)

(Photo AP/Ariana Cubillos)  (Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez  denied rumors of a serious setback in his health on Thursday, responding to an earlier report that  he had been rushed to rushed to an emergency room with kidney failure.

Chávez called state television on Thursday, according to AP, and urged Venezuelans to "pay no attention to rumors." 

"I'm fine," Chavez said. "I'm here in my place of work and working."

"I would be the first ... to communicate any difficulty in the process." Chávez added. "None beyond the normal has come up." 

Citing sources, “who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” the El Nuevo Herald reported that the President was in “bad shape” as he was escorted by his own security team from the presidential palace to the Hospital due to signs of kidney failure.

On Monday as well, Chávez also attempted to squash rumors about his health by speaking over the phone with a Venezuelan television station, claiming that the opposition is trying to use his illness to gain political advantage. The President said the opposition is under the advisory of “gringos and other Venezuelans” who are spreading the false rumor that he is in grave condition and that he left to Cuba.

The Venezuelan President’s health is considered a state secret which is only fueling speculation about his recovery since he first underwent surgery in Cuba in June to remove a tumor in his pelvic region.  

Neither Chávez nor the Venezuelan government have have stated what type of cancer is involved.

Despite repeated denials, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Roger Noriega, is unconvinced citing his own sources within Venezuela that the President is in serious condition and “not improving like his doctors had hoped,” according to El Nuevo Herald.

"This means we should start to think, and we should prepare for a world without Hugo Chávez," he said.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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