With no apparent political successor, Hugo Chavez is the third South American president to be dealing with cancer.
He says he is in recovery mode after treatment in Cuba and has told Venezuela's state television that he is well looked after and in good spirits.
Chavez insists he will govern from Cuba but his opponents say that is unconstitutional. The government is standing firm, however.
Al Jazeera's Latin America editor Lucia Newman reports on the political uncertainty in Venezuela created by Chavez's absence.
Source: Al Jazeera