Venezuela's VP: Chavez condition is stabilizing

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Associated Press

Posted on December 22, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 22 at 10:33 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's government says President Hugo Chavez's condition is becoming increasingly stable as the socialist leader recovers from a cancer-related operation in Cuba.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro says a ruling party member gave him the update on Chavez's recovery upon her return from the communist-led island.

Chavez underwent surgery Dec. 11, about two months after being elected to another six-year presidential term. It was his fourth cancer-related operation since June 2011.

Complications following the latest surgery and Chavez's silence since the procedure have thrown into doubt whether he will be able to return to Venezuela for his Jan. 10 inauguration.

The president of the National Assembly says ruling party lawmakers, who hold a majority in the legislature, won't call a new presidential election if Chavez can't return from Cuba in time for the swearing-in ceremony.

Opposition leaders argue that the constitution does not allow for a president's inauguration to be postponed.

In addition to a respiratory infection, the 58-year-old Chavez also suffered bleeding during the operation, which the government says was promptly stanched.

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