Venezuela's vice president accused "fascist" foreign media Friday of "lying" about the health of President Hugo Chavez as part of a campaign to destabilize the nation.
Nicolas Maduro, the president's political heir, said Chavez was undergoing a "complex and difficult" treatment in a Caracas military hospital, where he checked in last week after two months of cancer treatment in Cuba.
"Stop attacking our comandante, stop the rumors, stop using this situation, which is delicate for everybody, to try to create a destabilization," Maduro said on state-run television.
Maduro singled out the conservative Spanish newspaper ABC and Colombian radio Caracol, calling them "fascist" news organizations that are part of a "campaign against the stability of Venezuela, lying about Chavez."
ABC reported on Friday that Chavez was transferred to the presidential retreat in the island of La Orchilada days ago to spend his final moments with his family there.
Radio Caracol interviewed Panama's former ambassador to the Organization of American States, Guillermo Cochez, who claims that Chavez has been declared brain dead.
The government says Chavez remains in charge and even held a five-hour meeting in his Caracas military hospital room last week, but Maduro said Thursday that he was still "battling for his health, for his life."
Chavez has not been seen in public since he underwent cancer surgery in Cuba on December 11, a prolonged absence that has fueled rumors about his health.
The government has only released a set of pictures on February 15, showing him smiling in his sickbed and flanked by two daughters, three days before he returned to Caracas in the dead of night.