(Reuters) Venezuela published the first photos of cancer-stricken Hugo Chavez since his surgery in Havana more than two months ago and said the socialist president was breathing through a tracheal tube and struggling to speak.

The pictures showed the 58-year-old, smiling but with his face looking swollen, lying down in a hospital bed and flanked by his two daughters. In one, they were reading Thursday’s edition of the Cuban state newspaper, Granma.

The photos were shown by Chavez’s son-in-law, Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who has been traveling between Havana and Caracas to be at the Venezuelan president’s bedside.

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