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Chavez opponents demand 'the truth'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remains in Cuba following an operation he had there last month. His critics expressed concerns that the Venezuelan people aren't getting the full story about the president's health. 

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A man walks past a mural of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday. Both supporters and opponents of Chavez have been on edge in the past week amid shifting signals from the government about the president's health.

AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

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Venezuela's opposition on Wednesday demanded the government tell "the whole truth" about the health of cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez, who has not been heard from in three weeks after undergoing a grueling operation in Cuba.

Officials have acknowledged the usually garrulous former soldier's health is delicate after his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months, but they have offered scant details on his condition.

He has not spoken in public in more than three weeks.

Ramon Aveledo, head of the opposition Democratic Unity coalition, slammed the government for not keeping its word about keeping Venezuelans informed.

"The official version (of Chavez's health) hides more information than it gives," Aveledo said at a press conference.

"The vice president himself has promised to tell the truth, whatever it is. Fine, he should tell it. He should tell the whole truth," said Aveledo.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro, whom Chavez last month designated as his heir apparent, on Tuesday said in an interview from Havana that Chavez had recognized the complexity of his post-operative condition.

Maduro said he was returning to Venezuela after several days visiting with Chavez and his relatives, which may quell rumors his trip to Cuba signaled the president was in his final days.

The president's son-in-law and Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is in Havana, said via his Twitter account on Wednesday that the medical team told him Chavez's condition "remains stable" but that his health is still delicate.

"Commander Chavez is fighting hard and he sends his love to the people. Dedication and patience!!!" he tweeted.

Chavez's abrupt exit from the political scene would be a shock for Venezuela, where his oil-financed socialism has made him a hero to the poor majority but a nemesis to critics who call him a dictator.

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