Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s breathing problems have worsened and he is suffering a new, severe respiratory infection after cancer surgery in Cuba, the government has said. Information minister Ernesto Villegas said in a brief statement on Tuesday that the 58-year-old’s condition continued to be “very delicate”. “Today there is a worsening of respiratory function. Related to his depressed immune system, there is now a new, severe infection,” he said in the statement, read from the Caracas military hospital where Chavez is being treated. “The president has been receiving high-impact chemotherapy, along with other complementary treatments… his general condition continues to be very delicate.” Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Caracas, said that Villegas had said that the president is “clinging to his faith in Christ”. Chavez has not been seen in public, apart from one set of photos, since a December 11 cancer operation in Cuba. In January, the country’s top court endorsed postponing his inauguration and ruled that the president and his deputy would continue in their roles, despite opposition complaints.