Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has a severe respiratory infection caused by an immune system weakened by to his medical condition, a government official said.
Minister of Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas said in a nationwide address that Chavez experienced "a deterioration of his respiratory function due to the immune-suppressed status characterizing his clinical condition," El Universal reported.
"Currently, he has a new and severe infection," Villegas said.
Chavez recently returned to Venezuela from Cuba where he received treatment for cancer.
Chavez is aware of his condition and is complying with a treatment plan designed by his medical team, Villegas said.
Villegas urged Venezuelans to reject attempts by the opposition to use Chavez's medical condition "as an excuse to destabilize the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."
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