He hasn’t been seen in public for more than two months, but photographs of the ailing President Hugo Chavez were finally released by the Venezuelan government in an apparent bid to quell rumours that he had died.
The images showed a smiling Mr Chavez propped on a blue pillow in his hospital bed in Havana, Cuba, with his daughters, Rosa and Maria. In one of t he images he was shown reading Thursday’s edition of a Cuban newspaper, to prove the pictures were recent.
Mr Chavez, who flew to Cuba on 11 December for surgery on an undisclosed cancer condition that was diagnosed in mid-2011, missed his inauguration for a new presidential term earlier this month. The opposition has become increasingly restive and questioned his ability to govern. On Thursday, students protested outside the Cuban embassy in Caracas, saying the island’s government had essentially taken over the running of Venezuela.