Venezuela's V.P. denied rumors Thursday that Hugo Chavez has died, but didn't paint a pretty picture of the nation's president's health, either.
Quite specifically, Nicolas Maduro said Chavez, who is currently in Cuba, "is battling for his health, for his life, and we're accompanying him."
Besides implying Chavez is still alive, he implied a lack of progress. In late 2012, Maduro said Chavez "is fighting a great battle ... for his life, for his health."
Two months of battling for life is not encouraging, even if a new poll says nearly 60 percent of Venezuelans believe Chavez will recover and return to power.
Maduro's latest repetitive report about Chavez's health came less than 24 hours after CNN Chile falsely reported that the Venezuelan leader died.
The network attributed the news to Panamanian diplomat Guillermo Cochez who said, "I challenge the Venezuelan government to prove me wrong."
It appears the Venezuelan government heard the challenge.
Nevertheless, Chavez has reportedly been breathing through a tube since a serious respiratory infection followed four cancer surgeries last year.
He hasn't been seen publicly since December 11.
The man is clearly in poor health, even if it's unclear how poor. If he's not facing death yet, the 58-year-old Chavez is certainly knocking on its door.