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Venezuelan VP says Chavez remains in 'delicate' condition

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Maduro did not provide any new details about Chavez's complications during Tuesday's interview. But he joined other Chavez allies in urging Venezuelans to ignore gossip, saying rumors were being spread due to "the hatred of the enemies of Venezuela."

He didn't refer to any rumors in particular, though one of them circulating online had described Chavez as being in a coma.

Maduro said Chavez faces "a complex and delicate situation." But Maduro also said that when he talked with the president and looked at his face, he seemed to have "the same strength as always."

"All the time we've been hoping for his positive evolution. Sometimes he has had light improvements, sometimes stationary situations," he said.

Maduro's remarks about the president came at the end of an interview in which he praised Venezuelan government programs at length, recalled the history of the Cuban revolution and touched on what he called the long-term strength of Chavez's socialist Bolivarian Revolution movement.

He mentioned that former Cuban President Fidel Castro had been in the hospital, and praised Cuba's government effusively. "Today we're together on a single path," Maduro said.

Critics in Venezuela sounded off on Twitter while the interview was aired, some saying Maduro sounded like a mouthpiece for the Cuban government. In their messages, many Chavez opponents criticized Maduro for the dearth of information he provided, accusing him of withholding key details about Chavez's condition.

Chavez's political opponents have complained that the government hasn't told the country nearly enough about his health, and have demanded it provide the country with a full medical report.

Even some of his supporters say they wished they knew more.

"We're distressed by El Comandante's health," said Francisca Fuentes, who was walking through a downtown square with her grandchildren Tuesday. "I think they aren't telling us the whole truth. It's time for them to speak clearly. It's like when you have a sick relative and the doctor lies to you every once in a while."

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