Andrew Cawthorne and Mario Naranjo
May 18, 2012

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has not been seen or heard in public since returning a week ago from his latest cancer treatment in Cuba but was well enough to monitor a jail riot in Caracas, an ally said on Friday.

The usually garrulous and attention-seeking Chavez’s disappearances from public view have become longer and more frequent this year. That has fueled speculation his condition has worsened and may complicate a re-election bid in October.

Allies in the ruling Socialist Party, however, insist Chavez, 57, remains on top of government affairs, is recovering and is not mulling a succession.

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