Chavez is well, says Venezuelan vice president

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is doing "well" as his doctors treat him for a respiratory infection that developed after he underwent his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months, the Andean nation's vice president said Thursday.

"He is well, he is conscious," Nicolas Maduro said of the president during an event in the central state of Guarico.

"The overall health condition...during the post-operative period continues to progressively stabilize," the vice president said, reading from the latest bulletin issued by the medical team treating Chavez in Cuba.

The 58-year-old president continues to rest, "accompanied by his closest family members", Maduro said.

Chavez's Dec 11 operation in Havana lasted more than six hours, as surgeons had to cope with complications caused by hemorrhaging, the Venezuelan government said.

Three days ago, physicians detected a post-operative respiratory infection.
Both the hemorrhaging and the infection are typical "collateral effects of operations as complex as these", Maduro said Thursday.

On a different note, he said the recuperating president had been informed of his PSUV party's success in last Sunday's regional elections, in which Chavez loyalists took 20 of 23 state governorships.

"He has expressed a great happiness and a deep gratitude to all the people," Chavez's deputy said.

First elected in 1998, Chavez won another six-year term in Venezuela's Oct 6 presidential balloting.

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