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CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is steadily recovering from the latest cancer surgery, top government officials said Thursday.
According to Vice-President Nicholas Maduro, Chavez was experiencing "increasing recovery" after a six-hour operation in Havana, Cuba.
"In the past few hours, the process of recovery has evolved from stable to favorable, which gives us expectation of increasing recuperation," Maduro said.
Chavez, 58, was diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago and recently had a fourth surgery for cancer in Cuba's capital city.
Ernesto Villegas, the Venezuelan communications and information minister, said on national television and radio networks that Chavez shows positive signs of recovery after Wednesday's operation.
"Normal vital signs showed that the patient is in progressive and favorable recovery," Villegas said.
The minister detailed the "complexity of the surgery" by revealing some emergency situations such as unexpected bleeding during the operation, an indication that the president's recovery could be slow and tough.
Some political leaders in Latin America earlier expressed support for Chavez. Uruguay President Jose Mujica said he plans to visit the convalescing leader in Cuba and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wished Chavez a speedy recovery.
Chavez is due to begin his second six-year presidential term on Jan 10. Before leaving for Cuba, he named Maduro to be his successor.