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Venezuela’s Chavez Not in Coma and Recovering, Brother Says

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s ailing President Hugo Chavez is not in a coma as reported by social media sites and continues to recover from cancer surgery a month ago in Cuba, his brother said.

Adan Chavez, who is also governor of Barinas state, denied that the president was in a coma and that his family was considering disconnecting life-support machines, according to a statement published on the Barinas state government’s website.

“We know this is part of a dirty war by the necrophiliac opposition in this country,” Adan said, according to the statement dated Jan. 11. Governor Chavez, the oldest brother of the president, returned from Cuba yesterday.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans took a symbolic oath of loyalty to Chavez and the “right to build socialism in our country” in Caracas on Jan. 10, the date the ailing leader was supposed to be sworn in for a new six-year term. The Vice President’s office is responsible for providing updates on Chavez’s health, the governor said in the statement. Vice President Nicolas Maduro traveled to Havana yesterday and met with Cuban President Raul Castro.

Maduro visited Chavez today and handed him a report detailing rallies by Venezuelans in support of his new term in government, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas wrote today on his Twitter account.

The government last provided an update on Chavez’s health on Jan. 7 when Villegas said Chavez’s condition is stable after the government reported he had trouble breathing due to a lung infection.

To contact the reporters on this story: Raymond Colitt in Brasilia newsroom at rcolitt@bloomberg.net; Charlie Devereux in Caracas at cdevereux3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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