The health of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has evolved in a “favourable” way in recent days, though he still requires treatment for respiratory failure, communications minister Ernesto Villegas said. “Despite his delicate health state since his complex surgery on December 11, his general health has improved in recent days and the president is in strict compliance with his medical treatment,” Villegas said in a statement broadcast on radio and television on Sunday. Former vice president Elias Jaua, however, said earlier on Sunday that Chavez was “fighting for his life” and that “the situation is complex and delicate, but it is true that Hugo Chavez has fought and is fighting for his life.” Supporters of the ailing president held rallies across Venezuela on Sunday and defended a controversial court ruling allowing the indefinite delay of the socialist leader’s inauguration. Waving photos and banners, and wearing the trademark red T-shirts of the “Chavistas,” as his supporters are known, hundreds gathered for assemblies in the capital and several other states. “Get well president! Here we are waiting for you with open arms,” cried Chavez supporter Clara Pacheco to government television cameras.