Chavez Health Worries Evo Morales as Coma Speculation Continues

Bolivian President Evo Morales said he is "very worried" over the health of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez fueling speculation that Chávez's health is deteriorating.

"The situation for brother Chávez is very worrisome. Hopefully we will see one another soon,"  Morales said in Spanish at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"I regret that our Latin American brother, our companion in battle against anti-imperialism, a revolutionary, is facing such a difficult health situation."

Morales has not been able to see Chávez personally and has not spoken to Venezuela's Vice President Nicolás Maduro.  "It's been difficult to get ahold of him," Morales said.

Chávez has not been seen or heard from since the Dec. 11 operation, and Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said the president's condition remained "delicate" due to complications arising from a respiratory infection.

A Spanish newspaper reported Tuesday, citing sources from within his hospital in Cuba, that Chávez is in an induced coma being kept alive by life support following complications during surgery. According to, Chávez's sister could decide "at any moment" to pull the plug on the machines

With rumors swirling that Chávez had taken a turn for the worse, Maduro said on Tuesday that he had met with the president twice, had spoken with him and that he would return to Caracas on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Chávez's political opponents are unhappy with the secrecy surrounding Chávez's condition.

Opposition coalition leader Ramon Guillermo Aveledo said at a news conference that the information provided by government officials "continues to be insufficient."

"They should tell the truth," Aveledo said, noting that Maduro had pledged to provide full reports about Chávez's condition. He reiterated the opposition's call for the government to release a medical report, and said all indications are that Chávez won't be able to be sworn in to begin a new term on Jan. 10.

If Chávez can't take office on that date, Aveledo said the constitution is clear that the National Assembly president should then take over temporarily until a new election is held. He said what happens next in Venezuela should be guided by "the truth and the constitution."

If Chávez dies or is unable to continue in office, the Venezuelan Constitution says a new election should be held within 30 days.

"We have to save brother Chávez," Morales said.

Contains some reporting from the Associated Press.

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