A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds a
figurine of the Virgin Mary, as she attends a mass to pray
for Chavez's health in Caracas. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has suffered bleeding as
a result of a six-hour operation in Cuba meant to treat a third
bout of cancer, the government says.
The 58-year-old socialist leader needed "corrective measures"
that stopped the bleeding, Information Minister Ernesto
Villegas said in a statement.
"This process of recovery will take time because of the
complexity of the operation," Villegas said in a broadcast on
national television. "The patient is in a progressive and
favorable recovery of normal vital signs."
He did not provide further details.
The ashen faces of cabinet ministers and somber tone of the
terse official statements since the operation appear to
suggest top government officials are preparing for the worst.
Chavez won re-election by a big margin in October and is due
to start a new six-year term on Jan. 10. According to the
constitution, if he is unable to do so, a new election must
be held within 30 days.
The president has refused to divulge the details of the
cancer diagnosed in mid-2011 and has twice declared he was
completely cured - only to later undergo more surgery.