Chavez Battles For Life, But Poll Shows Venezuelans Confident He’ll Rebound

Friday, 01 Mar 2013 08:14 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is fighting for his life as he continues to undergo treatment after his fourth cancer-related operation in December, but that doesn't sway his loyal public who believe their leader will soon return to power.

Recovering from a serious respiratory infection and breathing only with the help of a tracheal tube, Chavez "is battling there for his health, for his life, and we're accompanying him," Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's vice president, said Thursday in a television appearance.

But despite his health, nearly three in five Venezuelans believe Chavez is on the mend, according to respected pollster Luis Vincente Leon who tweeted the results of a new poll Thursday.

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"The president's prolonged absence and his critical situation have not been converted into massive pessimism about his return," Leon, chief of Datanalisis polling firm, tweeted.

According to the poll, 58 percent of Venezuelans believe Chavez will recover while 30 percent believe he will not return to power. A reported 12.5 percent say they don’t know what will happen.

The government has continued to reassure Venezuelans that Chavez is doing well. A picture put out Feb. 15 showed the president lying in a bed in Cuba with his two daughters by his side. It was the first public image of him published since early December.

Maduro encouraged Venezuelans Thursday to continue praying for their socialist president, who has led the country for more than 19 years.

Chavez, 58, has been out of the public eye since before his Dec. 11 surgery in Cuba to treat an unspecific cancer in the pelvic area, and only recently returned to his country on Feb. 18. Chavez is reportedly continuing treatment at a military hospital in Caracas, according to government officials.

Chavez publicized his struggle with cancer when he announced his diagnosis in June 2011, and the president has since been through several rounds of chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and surgeries.

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Maduro said in January there had been "important advancements in the post-operative recovery process of President Chavez, which motivates us, which fills us with happiness."

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