CARACAS, Venezuela — A Venezuelan cardinal has called on locals to remain calm despite the uncertainty surrounding the health of President Hugo Chavez, who is hospitalized in Cuba after undergoing surgery for cancer.
According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, Chavez is in an induced coma and could be disconnected from artificial life support “at any moment.”
The newspaper reported that Chavez’s cancer has spread to his entire body and that his vital signs are being kept stable by the life support.
“Plans had been made to disconnect him soon from the artificial assistance that is prolonging the life of the Venezuelan president,” ABC reported.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro called the rumors about Chavez’s health “lies,” although he acknowledged that Chavez is facing “a difficult situation” despite having “slightly improved at times.”
In his message for the end of 2012, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, said that as Catholics, “Our faith demands that we also promote a more fraternal society, and this obligation is greater for those in positions of authority.”
“In this context, amidst the uncertainty surrounding the health of President Hugo Chavez, it is essential we all uphold and defend the constitutional norms that govern the procedures for an eventual temporary or absolute absence of the president,” he said.
“We cannot accept other actions that would lead to instability in the country and would violate the rights of Venezuelans,” the cardinal added.
The period of transition should be marked by peace and respect for the constitutional rights of all, he said, free of any actions that would cause unrest or anxiety or that would exclude those considered to be political adversaries.