CARACAS – President Hugo Chavez emerged in good condition from a long and “difficult” operation to treat a recurrence of cancer in his pelvic area, the Venezuelan government said.
The surgery, which went on for more than six hours, concluded “correctly and in a successful manner,” Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday night in a nationally broadcast address.
The 58-year-old socialist president was first diagnosed with cancer during a June 2011 visit to Cuba and Tuesday’s operation was the fourth he has undergone since then.
All four procedures were carried out in Havana, though physicians from Venezuela and other nations – apparently including Russia – have also been involved in the case.
The president had twice proclaimed himself to be cancer-free before taking to the Venezuelan airwaves late last Saturday to announce that he needed another operation.
The post-operative phase of Chavez’s treatment “will last several days” and the government will provide Venezuelans with daily updates on the president’s condition, Maduro said.
Surrounded by the members of Chavez’s Cabinet, the vice president thanked Venezuelans for their prayers on behalf of the ailing head of state.
Chavez, who first took office in 1999, was re-elected in October for another six-year term. EFE