MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Venezuelan Embassy in Russia denied on Thursday media reports that President Hugo Chavez had been brain-dead since December and was recently disconnected from life-supporting equipment.
On Wednesday, Colombian TV channel NTN24 reported, citing Panama's former Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Guillermo Cochez, that Chavez's brain died on December 30. Chavez had been fighting a prolonged battle with cancer.
Cochez added that Chavez was brought to Venezuela from Cuba last week, because Cuban authorities refused to disconnect him from a lung ventilator.
“The Embassy of Venezuela rejects media reports that President Hugo Chavez, allegedly in a vegetative state, was disconnected from a lung ventilator,” the embassy said in a statement.
The statement added that “the official authorities of Venezuela are timely and truthfully informed about Hugo Chavez’s health and recovery.”
CNN Chile reported on Thursday that the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs also rejected reports about the death of the 58-year-old president, but did not specify any details.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday that although Chavez's health is failing, he continues to rule the country from a military hospital, where he was put upon arrival from Cuba.
Chavez, who has ruled Venezuela for 13 years, underwent four surgeries and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela within the past two years. His fourth operation, to remove cancerous tissue, took place in Cuba on December 11.
Chavez's new term inauguration had been slated for January 11, but he was unable to attend it for health reasons. On January 9, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled to postpone Chavez’s inauguration until he completed his latest round of treatment.