Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is suffering from breathing difficulties after his cancer operation in December, the government said late on Thursday.
The "trend [of the breathing problems] is persisting and has not been favourable and is, therefore, continuing to be treated," Communication and Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said in the first official statement about Chavez's health since he returned to Venezuela on Monday after receiving treatment in Cuba.
The government said last week that the president was breathing through a tube in his trachea, which prevented him from speaking.
"On the other hand, the treatment for the underlying illness is continuing without showing significant effects so far," Villegas said.
Chavez was "leaning on Christ" and showing "the utmost will to live and the best discipline in his treatment," the minister said.
Chavez was admitted to hospital on Monday just after arriving from Havana, where he spent more than three months recovering from his fourth operation for cancer, which was diagnosed in 2011.
Chavez, president for 14 years, was re-elected in October for another six years.
He was unable to attend his inauguration, which had been scheduled last month. It has been postponed indefinitely.