Venezuelan President Chavez conditions ‘improves slightly’ after cancer surgery – official
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's condition has "improved slightly" after a cancer operation in Cuba, the information minister said on Monday, amid doubts over whether the former soldier is in good enough health to continue governing.
"The patient has shown a slight improvement in his condition," Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said during a terse televised statement, adding the president has maintained contact with family members.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro said he had spoken by phone with Chavez, who was walking and doing exercises as part of his treatment. "We've gotten the best present we could get this Christmas: a phone call from our commander president," Maduro said on state television.
However, no pictures of Mr Chavez after the surgery have been released so far.
Mr Chavez, in the past year and a half, underwent his fourth cancer operation on 11 December in Cuba, but suffered a respiratory infection.
Chavez, who remains hospitalized in Cuba, has not been seen or heard from publicly since his December 11 surgery.
President Chavez in power since 1999 - won another term in October's election.
Mr Chavez, 58, is scheduled to be sworn in on 10 January.
The lack of any word from Mr Chavez for two weeks prior to the comments by the two senior officials raised serious concerns about his current condition and his ability to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Chavez’s political allies have already raised the possibility that the President may not be healthy enough to return to Venezuela in time for his scheduled inauguration for a new six-year term on January 10.
Chavez, the dominant figure in the politics of OPEC-member Venezuela for the past 14 years, was reelected in October.
Bolivian President Evo Morales was in Cuba over the weekend but did not speak to reporters and a Cuban government invitation for media to cover his arrival and departure was withdrawn.
Mr Morales is expected to issue a statement later on Mr Chavez's condition.
- Asian Tribune -