Rumours are flying about the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez following his fourth round of surgery for cancer in Cuba.
Several media reports suggest the 58-year-old could be on his death bed.
Vice President Nicolás Maduro has confirmed that Chávez’ condition is “delicate” but claims he is “conscious” and says the rumours are being spread by the country’s enemies.
Maduro has been to see to the president twice.
“He is fully aware that his post-operative condition is complex, and he asked us specifically, he gave us his approval to keep the people informed, always with the truth, however harsh it could be,” said Maduro.
Chávez’ political opponents claim officials have been secretive about the extent of his cancer.
His supporters remain on edge over what some say are mixed signals from the government and because Chávez has not been seen or heard from since his operation on December 11.