Update, Tuesday, 5:07 p.m. Eastern: Hugo Chavez is dead. Click here for more updates.
Original post: He's been defying the odds for months now, but the latest reports on the condition of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez suggest he may not be with us much longer. Under pressure from citizens who rallied over the weekend to demand more information about their ailing president, the government finally updated the world this week, admitting that "there is a worsening of his respiratory function" and "a new, severe infection." Things are so bad that he's breathing through a tracheal tube and is unable to fully talk.
Chavez returned to the country just two weeks ago after spending nearly three months in a Cuban hospital. The world has rarely seen or heard from Chavez since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. A photo of Chavez laying in bed that was the only image anyone has seen of him since his surgery in December. He hasn't been formally inaugurated following his re-election last year, because he's been too sick to go out in public.
Without trying to seem like inconsiderate vultures, the world seems to have reached the stage where Chavez is on a permanent death watch. There's already been at least one false report of his demise, and when a 58-year-old man with a history of poor health spends four months in a hospital bed, his prognosis can't be good. But when the identity of an entire nation becomes so wrapped up in identity of one man, it's clear that that nation is not ready (or won't be allowed) to move on until he's actually gone. So everyone will have to just watch and wait until he recovers or passes away.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.