Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s condition has improved and he is now optimistic as he faces more treatment following cancer surgery, his vice president said Saturday.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro said after meeting with Chavez in Cuba that the ailing president is now “in the best moment we’ve seen him in these days of struggle” following his Dec. 11 cancer surgery. Chavez hasn’t appeared or spoken publicly since before the operation, and his government has said he suffered complications including a severe respiratory infection but has recently been improving.
Maduro spoke on state television early Saturday after returning from Havana to Venezuela. He said he was leaving shortly for a summit meeting in Chile with a written message from Chavez.
“We’re taking a message prepared by the president, and we’re going to turn it over to heads of state who attend the CELAC summit. He makes fundamental proposals,” Maduro said, adding that the message was in Chavez’s handwriting.
Maduro said Chavez also urged his supporters in Venezuela to be alert about opponents seeking to do harm to his socialist-oriented “revolution.” However, Maduro didn’t elaborate.
The vice president, whom Chavez designated as his successor before the operation, spoke on television surrounded by officials including Defense Minister Diego Molero and Information Minister Ernesto Villegas. Maduro said Villegas would give a more detailed update on Chavez’s health later Saturday.
Chavez has undergone repeated surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatment for an unspecified type of pelvic cancer. He has undergone much of his treatment in Cuba.
The 58-year-old president won re-election in October, and lawmakers indefinitely put off his inauguration earlier this month in a decision that was condemned by opponents but upheld by the Supreme Court.
The vice president said, without giving details, that Chavez “has reviewed and evaluated reports on different areas and has made decisions.”
He also said Chavez had signed documents related to economic issues, as well as one about the selection of his socialist party’s candidates for mayoral elections later this year. The vice president showed the signature in red ink.