Venezuela's Chavez improving after surgery complications
By Brian Ellsworth and Daniel Wallis
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's Hugo Chavez suffered unexpected bleeding caused by a six-hour cancer operation in Cuba, the government said, although the ailing president's condition began to improve on Thursday.
The 58-year-old's health has deteriorated dramatically since he won re-election two months ago, casting doubt on the future of his "21st century socialism" project, which won him huge support among the poor but infuriated adversaries who denounce him as a fledgling dictator.
Officials said Chavez's medical team in Havana had to use "corrective measures" to stop the bleeding which resulted from Tuesday's surgery, his fourth cancer operation in 18 months. But they said his condition had improved since then.
"In the last few hours, his process of recovery has evolved from stable to favorable," Vice President Nicolas Maduro told a rally of Socialist Party supporters, who cheered as he spoke.
"That allows us to continue saying that there is a growing recovery in Comandante Hugo Chavez's situation."
The president claimed he was cured earlier this year, and was able to campaign for re-election in October, but now looks to be fighting for his life again. Officials have stressed that his post-operation process will be long and complex.
The ashen faces of cabinet ministers and somber tone of their terse official statements since Tuesday's surgery appeared to suggest top government officials are preparing for the worst.
The president has refused to divulge details of the cancer that was diagnosed in June of last year. Continued...