The Straits Times
Published on Dec 12, 2012

Chavez cancer surgery successful, post-op treatment to follow: Vice-president


CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was recovering after a successful cancer operation at a Cuban hospital, his vice-president said on Tuesday.

A visibly moved Nicolas Marduro, to whom Chavez delegated power before undergoing his fourth round of cancer surgery in Havana, said Mr Chavez would shortly begin a "post-operative phase" that would last several days.

"This operation ended correctly and successfully," Mr Maduro said in an address to the nation. "In these coming hours, we will be very attentive." He said the operation took six hours and was "corrective surgery of a lesion" that occurred in the same place as before, without elaborating.

Earlier, Tareck El Aissami, a former interior minister and member of Venezuela's ruling party, took to the airwaves shortly after doctors began operating to tell the Venezuelan people all was "going well." Mr Chavez's medical team expressed "optimism" as the cancer-stricken Venezuelan president went into surgery, while hundreds of faithful supporters gathered to pray that the longtime, omnipresent leader would live.