Venezuela VP: Chavez in 'delicate' process

July 9, 2011 - 3:14 PM
Venezuela Chavez

In this photo provided by Miraflores Presidential Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, center, shares a moment with female Army cadets during a visit to Alejandro Petion military academy at Fuerte Tiuna in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, July 7, 2011. Ailing Chavez appeared live on television Thursday, meeting with cadets and other soldiers at the country's largest military base and vowing to survive his recent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.(AP Photo//Miraflores Presidential Press Office)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is undergoing "rigorous treatment" as he recovers from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, the vice president said Saturday.

Chavez did not appear publicly on Friday or Saturday, following a busy Thursday in which he addressed troops and spoke to a Cabinet meeting for an hour and a half.

But messages continued appearing on his Twitter account, and state television broadcast videos of Chavez smiling as he met with his father, mother and other relatives. It said Saturday the images were recorded the two previous days.

"The president is moving along in his process. It's a delicate process," Vice President Elias Jaua said on television after an event at the National Assembly in honor of the nation's bicentennial.

Jaua said it is "a rigorous treatment, and the entire nation has to accompany him to comply with his treatment."

Chavez has said he underwent surgery in Cuba on June 20 to remove a cancerous tumor. The foreign minister said it was extracted from the same part of the "pelvic region" where Chavez had an abscess removed nine days earlier.

Chavez hasn't said what type of cancer is involved nor whether he is receiving chemotherapy, radiation or other treatments. Chavez has said he has stitches on his abdomen from the operation.

A message on Chavez's Twitter account said Saturday that he was up at 5 a.m., and then underwent medical exams before reading and talking with Jaua by phone.

In what has become a near-daily mantra, Chavez said in another Twitter message: "We will live and we will win."

The president said that he is keeping a close eye on state television, which broadcast footage on Saturday of National Assembly leader Fernando Soto Rojas attending a food fair where vendors sold "hallacas," a traditional Venezuelan dish resembling a Mexican tamale.

"Hey, Comrade Soto Rojas, send me one of those hallacas," Chavez said on his Twitter account.

Chavez also lamented the killing of Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral in Guatemala."What pain!" Chavez wrote. "We cry with Argentina and all of our great fatherland."

In the latest image of the president on state television, he greeted his mother, father, brothers and other relatives at the presidential palace on Thursday and introduced them to a doctor in a white coat, saying: "These are, well, the Cuban battalion, the Cuban and Venezuelan battalion."

Chavez has credited his mentor and friend Fidel Castro with helping direct his medical care in Cuba last month. Chavez made his surprise return to Caracas on July 4, four days after he announced in a prerecorded video that he was fighting cancer.

The latest video clips were edited to a soundtrack of Venezuelan folk music. The images cut to footage on Friday in which Chavez stood together with his relatives in a courtyard looking at an old softball trophy and reminiscing.