CHAVEZ ON THE BRINK: Venezuela Blames Cancer On Foreign Plot, Expels US Attaché

Venezuelan state TV just gave what was billed as an update on President Hugo Chavez’s health.

In the address, Vice President Nicolás Maduro assured the country that Chavez was still alive, but was facing serious complications in his battle against cancer.

However, much of the statement focused on a U.S.-led conspiracy against the country.

Maduro says that the government had discovered that an officer of the U.S. Embassy was acting against Venezuela’s military, getting in touch with officers and proposing a plan to destabilize the country.

The man is reportedly an Air Force attaché named “David del Monaco,” and he has been given 24 hours to get out of the country. Maduro says that “special measures” will be taken to avoid right wing conspiracies.

It’s worth noting that the Venezuelan government accused the U.S. of a similar plot in 2008, and expelled then-Ambassador Patrick Duddy. The vice president has also previously told the press that he has been the subject of an assassination plot.

Maduro also used the address to say Chavez’s enemies had hurt his health with lies and rumors, comparing it to the death of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who some believe was poisoned.

Maduro says that a “scientific commission” will eventually find proof that Chavez’s illness was caused by poison.

According to CNN, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas announced Chavez was battling a new infection on Monday.

“There is a worsening of the respiratory function, related to the state of his depressed immune system,” Villegas said on state-run VTV.

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