(NEW YORK) — It’s anyone’s guess as to the exact condition of ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez after he underwent surgery in Cuba on Dec. 11 for what his government described as a severe lung infection.
According to several news sources, Chavez, who has undergone four cancer-related surgeries since June 2011, was put in an induced coma because of weak vital signs and remains on life support.
Meanwhile, family members of the socialist president maintain that Chavez is in stable condition and urged supporters not to believe any rumors.
At this point, it’s unlikely Chavez will be able to attend his Jan. 10 inauguration after winning a fourth term as Venezuela’s president.
Should Chavez pass away before next Thursday, Diosdado Cabello, chairman of the National Assembly, will become president until new elections are held. If Chavez dies after Jan. 10, Vice President Nicolas Maduro will succeed him.
Already there are conspiracy theories that doctors are keeping Chavez alive so that Maduro, who is more pro-Cuba than Cabello, will become the next president.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN