Chávez 'favourable' after surgery
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is recovering “favourably”, despite having suffered complications during cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice-president has said.
A day after officials painted a grim picture of Mr Chavez’s health, Nicolas Maduro announced at a political rally that the president’s condition “has evolved from stable to favourable, which supports maintaining the diagnosis of an increasing recuperation”.
In the latest of a series of reports about the president’s delicate condition, information minister Ernesto Villegas said Mr Chavez was making a “progressive and favourable” recovery after suffering bleeding in the wake of Tuesday’s operation.
“This recovery process, nevertheless, will require a prudent period of time as a consequence of the complexity of the surgery performed,” Mr Villegas said.
Julian Molina, a cancer expert from the Mayo Clinic in the United States, said bleeding is not uncommon when doctors operate in the same place multiple times to remove cancerous tissue, as is the case with Mr Chavez.
The Venezuelan government has been providing regular updates on the president’s recovery following six hours of surgery in a slight easing of the secrecy that has surrounded Mr Chavez’s medical treatment since he fell ill last year. No clinical details have been provided.
The latest bulletin came as supporters prayed for Mr Chavez at church services and as Venezuelans increasingly acknowledged the potential for political turmoil ahead if the leftist leader is unable to be sworn in for his fourth term early next year - a possibility raised by his government.
One-man rule has been the glue that has held together Mr Chavez’s socialist movement, and he had not groomed any clear successor until he announced over the weekend that if cancer cuts short his presidency he wants Mr Maduro to take over.
Some Venezuelans believe power struggles may already be brewing within the president’s “Chavismo” movement, which includes groups from radical leftists to moderates.
Mr Maduro heads a civilian political wing that is closely aligned with Cuba’s communist government. National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, a Chavez confederate in the failed 1992 coup that brought him fame, is thought to wield power within the military.
Mr Chavez was re-elected to another six-year term in October. His allies have expressed hope about the president returning home for his January 10th inauguration, but on Wednesday Mr Villegas acknowledged in a written message on a government website that it was possible the president might not be well enough to return in time.
It remains unclear where the bleeding occurred or how severe the complications were. Still secret are numerous details about the cancer in the president’s pelvic area, including the type and location of the tumours that have been removed.