Chávez transfers powers as he recovers from cancer surgery


Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has transferred certain powers to vice-president Nicolas Maduro as he struggles to recover from a fourth operation for cancer in Cuba.

Mr Chávez, who has not appeared in public since flying to Cuba 16 days ago, said on December 8th that voters should elect Mr Maduro to protect his legacy if he is unable to remain in office.

The president has been improving after a cancer operation and has started exercising, officials said earlier this week, amid doubts over whether the former soldier is in good enough health to continue governing.

Information minister Ernesto Villegas said earlier in the day that Mr Chávez had “shown a slight improvement in his condition”, without providing details.

Mr Chávez has not been heard from in two weeks following a fourth operation for an unspecified type of cancer in the pelvic region.

The government has said he also suffered post-operative complications. – (Bloomberg, Reuters)