- (Photo: Reuters)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's health remains a point of high concern as his deputy, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, said the leader is "battling for his life."
Speaking in front of state TV, Maduro looked back at Chavez's life, and reflected that the cancer-stricken president became sick "because he gave his life for those who don't have anything," according to BBC.
Chavez, a controversial political figure, has often had a tense relationship with the United States. He is also an outspoken Catholic who has regularly spoken about his faith in his battle with cancer, which is believed to be in his pelvic region, but has not been disclosed to the public.
The Venezuelan only recently returned from treatment in Cuba last month.
"I'm clinging to Christ and trusting in my doctors and nurses," Chavez said on his Twitter page upon his return, and was greeted by many of his supporters in the country.
Maduro revealed, however, that the president is still in a military hospital bed struggling with his health, trying to fulfill his duties and giving out orders as much as his strength allows him.
"Respiratory inefficiencies that emerged in the post-operative period persist and his tendency hasn't been favorable," shared Information Minister Ernesto Villegas, according to USA Today.
Villegas has also claimed that "the president holds firm to Christ, with the maximum desire to live," and that the people are behind him in the long path to recovery.
While many Venezuelans support Chavez for his faith and his public efforts to help the poor, others have strongly disagreed with many of his policies, such as his decision to nationalize a number of companies, such as the lucrative oil industry, and almost double royalties paid by foreign companies, which has angered many in the international community.
The leader has also had a turbulent relationship with the United States, and during a 2006 speech at the United Nations, Chavez called former U.S. President George W. Bush "the devil" over foreign policy issues, saying that America engaged in "domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world."
The Human Rights Watch organization has also in the past accused Chavez's administration of eroding human rights by abusing his powers, which it says has censored and intimated Venezuelans who have spoken out against the president.
Chavez, while enjoying some better health, was re-elected as president last October for another six years, but some analysts doubt how much of his term he will be able to complete given his condition.
Maduro has claimed that the socialist leader "didn't take care of his health because he gave his body and soul" to the people.
Luis Vicente Léon, a respected Venezuelan pollster, said that according to a new poll, which surveyed 1,198 people and had an error margin of three percentage points, most Venezuelans still remain hopeful that Chavez will be able to recover.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents to the poll said that they believe Chavez will recover, with 30 percent saying they believe he will not return to power, and another 12.5 percent unsure of what will happen.
"The government has sent permanent messages that President Chávez will return, that he meets with the vice president for five hours," Leon noted, according to The Guardian.
Before departing to Cuba for treatment last year, Chavez nominated Maduro as his successor should he be unable to recover, though the Venezuelan parliament would have to hold another vote for president in such a circumstance.