Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is fighting for his life in a Caracas military hospital 10 days after returning from cancer treatment in Cuba, his vice president said.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro did not provide more details, but the government said last week that Chavez was still suffering from a respiratory infection and that the trajectory was not favorable.
As he presented subsidised homes on state-run television, Maduro said that Chavez was "battling for his health, for his life, and we are accompanying him," adding later that the president was in a "complex and difficult" stage.
Chavez's chosen successor and other officials have used similar phrases to describe the leftist leader's condition in recent weeks.
"Do you know why he neglected his health?" the vice president asked."Because he gave his body and soul completely and forgot all his obligations to himself to give the people a fatherland, to give those who had nothing a job, a life, a house, health, food, education."
Chavez, the flamboyant standard-bearer of the Latin American left for more than a decade, has not spoken or appeared in public since undergoing a fourth round of cancer surgery in Cuba on December 11.
Only one set of pictures has been released, on February 15, showing him in his Havana hospital bed, smiling with two of his daughters.AFP