Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday remained absent at the meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) energy commission, the first international meeting held after he returned home after his latest cancer treatment in Cuba a week ago.
The meeting, which attracted the representatives from 12 countries, was chaired by Venezuela`s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro.
Although Chavez did not need to attend Friday’s ministerial meeting, his absence raised further questions about his health. Besides several tweets, the President has not seen or heard since he returned from Cuba after the latest session of radiotherapy.
Some analysts said that Chavez`s "disappearance" fuelled the rumours that his physical condition has worsened and Maduro has taken over part of the President’s responsibilities.
Chavez, who is seeking re-election in October, announced last Friday that his anti-cancer treatment had been a success after returning from Cuba. The 57-year-old President even sang to refute the rumours that he was terminally ill. He also admitted that he would accept some follow-up care to relieve the adverse effects of radiotherapy in the next days.
Latest polls have showed that Chavez continues to enjoy overwhelming popularity among voters in the lead up to Presidential Elections this fall, despite his ailing health.