Sources told Spanish newspaper ABC that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is in an induced coma and being kept alive on life support in a Cuban hospital following emergency cancer surgery on December 10.
UPI has more details from the report:
Sources told ABC Chávez was breathing through mechanical ventilation and being fed intravenously and rectally, and Russian doctors treating him said his kidneys were failing.
The doctors were considering ending the life support, the newspaper said.
However, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro denied the report, saying that Chávez was in a conscious state.
Chávez recently named Maduro as his chosen successor should he be unable to serve his third term as president following his re-election in October. While Chávez has battled cancer for a while now, never has he taken the step of naming a successor, making the announcement significant.
Chávez is well known for his socialist government and economic policies. Investors have bid up both Venezuelan stocks and bonds this year (Venezuela was the world's best performing stock market in 2012) on hopes that the end of Chávez's rule in Venezuela will mean an end to those socialist policies and usher in a more business-friendly government.
Today, yields on Venezuelan government bonds are falling toward multi-year lows. The move reverses a climb upward in recent weeks after the Venezuelan government downplayed fears that Chávez's December 10 surgery didn't go well.
The yield on the Venezuelan 15-year government bond has fallen 40 basis points today.
Torino Capital CEO Jorge Piedrahita told Bloomberg News, " There is a clear correlation between the price of Venezuela’s debt and Chávez's health."
Today's report from ABC cites anonymous sources inside the hospital. Although it's been refuted by Maduro, it appears as if it's been enough to re-ignite investor speculation.
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