HAVANA (CBSMiami) – Surviving on life support alone, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is using the artificial respiration following a tracheotomy earlier this week, according to the Madrid-based publication ABC, which is cited in this article by CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

Chávez has been suffering from complications after his fourth surgery in Havana, Cuba to treat cancer. Doctors performed the tracheotomy after a respiratory infection blocked the leader’s breathing, ABC reported. The procedure involves opening a hole in the neck so the patient can breathe without using the nose or mouth.

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro has summoned several Chavista leaders to Havana, the Spanish publication reported.

The meeting among leaders is designed to address issues related to an expected declaration of “total lack”, a change in the head of state. A “total lack” means an inability of the leader to remain in power, due to death or “the permanent physical of mental disability certified by a medical board appointed by the Supreme Court and with the approval of the National Assembly.”

According to the country’s constitution, the publication reported, following such a declaration of “total lack”, a new election would be held within 30 days.

To read the full story in Spanish (or in English if your browser has the ability to translate), click here and scroll down.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)


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