according to the report in El Nuevo Herald, Chávez finds himself in "critical condition, not grave, but critical, in a complicated situation."The questions over Chavez's long term health have led to speculation about possible successors to the presidency and criticism from opposition groups over the Chavez junta governing from abroad.
The Miami newspaper cited U.S. intelligence officials who wished to remain anonymous.
Chávez silence has led to chatter and speculation in Venezuela that the socialist leader is actually suffering from prostate cancer. Intelligence officials could not confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer but Chávez family did go to Cuba in the last 72 hours, according to wire service EFE.
Chávez daughter Rosinés and his mother Marisabel Rodríguez "urgently" left the country and headed to Cuba in a Venezuelan air force plane.
Cuba's state media website, Cubadebate, released photos on June 17 that showed Chávez posing with Fidel and Raul Castro in his hospital room. Chávez smiled for the camera in a track suit, while a frail-looking Fidel clutched Chávez arm.
Before the report that Chávez was in critical condition, his brother sought to reassure Venezuela that he was recovering well.
A notoriously long-winded public speaker, Chavez had been remarkably quiet this month. Chavez hadn't been seen in public since June 9th and was last heard from in a phone interview with Venezuela's state TV on June 12th. A regular user of Twitter, Chavez's account was dormant for 19 days before activity resumed.
Chavez considers Cuban dictator Fidel Castro the ideological predecessor to his regional 'Bolivar revolution' and counts Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, Bolivia's Evo Morales and Ecuador's Rafael Correa among his leftist allies in the region.