Protesters demand details of Hugo Chavez's health

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Associated Press

Posted on March 3, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 3 at 12:36 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Venezuela's capital on Sunday, demanding the government provide complete details about the health of ailing President Hugo Chavez.

Protesters waving Venezuelan flags chanted "Tell the Truth!" as they marched through eastern Caracas. They accused government officials of keeping from the public a full account of Chavez's state.

"They don't tell us the truth," complained Mildred Moreau, a 64-year-old woman who believes Chavez is not healthy enough to govern the country. "We feel that they are trying to trick us."

The protest was staged a day after Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Chavez has been receiving chemotherapy while recovering from a severe respiratory infection.

Chavez underwent cancer-related surgery on Dec. 11 in Cuba and has not been seen or heard from since, except for several "proof of life" photos released Feb. 15 before he returned to Venezuela.

Officials have sent mixed signals about Chavez's condition, sometimes saying he was recovering and at other times describing him as battling for his life.

Sunday's marchers joined university students who have chained themselves together near a Supreme Court office. The students are demanding authorities give a full update about Chavez's health and are urging justices to decide if he is healthy enough to remain in office.

"We are going to stay here until they tell the truth, until they give an explanation about his state of health and say if he's in a condition to govern," said Johan Gomez, a 23-year-old university student who had wrapped chains around his arms and waist.

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Christopher Toothaker on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ctoothaker

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