CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is facing "new complications" arising from a respiratory infection following cancer surgery in Cuba, Vice President Nicolás Maduro said in a televised statement on Sunday night.
"Nineteen days after the complex surgery, President Chávez's condition continues to be delicate, presenting complications that are being treated, in a process that is not without risks," Mr. Maduro said, speaking from Havana, where he had flown a day earlier to visit the president, who is being treated in a hospital there.
Looking grim, Mr. Maduro said that, after arriving in Havana, "we were told about new complications arising as a consequence of the respiratory infection." Officials previously had said the infection was detected on Dec. 17, almost a week after the surgery.
Mr. Maduro said that he had just come from a visit with Mr. Chávez. He also said that he spoke about national affairs with the president and that Mr. Chávez sent an end-of-the-year greeting to the families of Venezuela.
Mr. Maduro, who has been designated by Mr. Chávez as the one to continue leading his Socialist revolution if he is too ill to govern, said that he planned to remain in Havana for "the coming hours" to monitor the president's condition.
Venezuela has been in deep uncertainty for weeks as a result of Mr. Chávez's sickness and his extended absence. Mr. Chávez, who has been president for nearly 14 years, was re-elected in October, but officials have said that he may not be able to return to Venezuela for the start of his new six-year term on Jan. 10.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.