Caracas Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino asked Venezuelans to pray for President Hugo Chavez as he battles cancer.

Chavez is battling complications after operations in Cuba to treat cancer, and Venezuela confronts a possible constitutional crisis over who will lead the South American country.

Chavez won re-election Oct. 7, but the cancer he had been battling before the election returned, forcing him to seek treatment again in Cuba.

Chavez became personally popular among Venezuela’s poor, but also polarizing for his anti-American posturing and persecution of political opponents. Crime, corruption and inflation have exploded during his 13 years in office, opposition politicians allege. His relations with church leaders have been marked by verbal sparring.