Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is conscious and progressively recovering more than a week after cancer surgery in Cuba, his Vice President has said.
In a televised address, Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday said Chavez was receiving treatment for a respiratory infection and has been with his family resting.
"He`s well. He`s conscious," Maduro said during the speech in central Guarico state.
He`s fighting a great battle ... for his life, for his health."
Maduro reiterated that the President had undergone a complicated surgery.
The Vice President`s remarks, which varied little from other recent updates on Chavez`s health, came as National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello defended his suggestion that Chavez`s January 10 inauguration could be postponed, a statement that has fed uncertainty about the his recovery.
Maduro, however, had said on Wednesday that he didn`t want to speculate about such a scenario and that the Supreme Court could settle any such question if needed.
"I only expressed my opinion, of which I`m absolutely convinced since it`s in line with our constitution," Cabello said in a message on his Twitter account.
Speculation has grown about Chavez`s condition more than a week after an operation in Cuba, his fourth in 18 months.
The 58-year-old Chavez has not spoken publicly since his December 11 surgery for pelvic cancer, and on Tuesday the government said he had a respiratory infection, though it was controlled. Chavez also suffered bleeding during the six-hour operation, which the government said was promptly stanched.
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said yesterday she and other officials plan to attend Chavez`s inauguration on January 10 as planned. "We`re going to see how the President`s health evolves, and whether it`s done on January 10 or it`s postponed," Holguin said in Bogota.
Venezuela`s Constitution says the President should be sworn in for a new six-year term on January 10 before the National Assembly.
Maduro, whom Chavez designated as his chosen successor before the surgery, said that if the president weren`t able to be sworn in as planned, "he left clear, public instructions about any scenario."
Medical experts who aren`t involved in the President`s treatment say his recovery is likely to take a month or more if all goes well because he had undergone several surgeries, radiation treatment and chemotherapy.
State television on Wednesday night showed a documentary about Chavez`s life, including his days selling sweets on the street as a boy in the rural town where he lived with his grandmother.