It is appearing less and less likely that Venezuela’s ailing president will be able to make it back home in time for his swearing in Jan. 10. On Thursday, Venezuelan officials revealed that Chávez is suffering from a “severe” respiratory infection after undergoing his fourth surgery in the last year and a half. “This infection has caused a breathing insufficiency that requires Comandante Chávez to comply strictly with medical treatment,” a minister said. In an ominous sign, top officials gathered in Havana to visit Chávez on Thursday. Under the Venezuelan Constitution, a new election will be held if the president is unable to take the oath or dies during his first four years in office.
WORRIED Jorge Silva, Reuters / Landov