Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's cancer surgery in Cuba has gone successfully, according to the country's Vice President Nicolás Maduro, said The New York Times.
The operation was the Venezuelan leader's third in some 18 months, according to NYT. Chavez has refused to provide details about the cancer diagnosis.
Maduro, speaking on national television, described Chavez's six-hour operation as "complex," adding, "fortunately our commander’s gigantic humanity once again demonstrates its fortitude," reported NYT.
Then, addressing Chavez, Madura said: “You have to come back. And we wait for you here, your children.”
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa told Reuters on Tuesday that the operation would be "one of the toughest times of [Chavez's] life."
Chavez, who is due to be sworn in for a fourth term as Venezuela's president on Jan. 10, has for the first time signaled the possibility he might not be fit to serve it, designating Maduro as his chosen successor.
But before he left Caracas early Monday morning, Chavez assured the nation that he was not giving up power, only handing it temporarily to Maduro, the Guardian reported.
Shown on state television boarding his plane, the paper said, Chavez held up his fist and rallied: "Long live the fatherland."
Yet the Venezuelan opposition insists that that the country's next leader should be chosen by voters, not by Chavez. According to the BBC, the country's constitution states that an election must be held within 30 days if the president leaves office prematurely.
"Venezuela is not a monarchy with a prince as heir," one opposition leader, Antonio Ledezma, told Reuters.
Meanwhile Venezuela bonds have rallied since the news of Chavez's latest ill health was made public, Reuters said, as investors look forward to the prospect of a "more business-friendly government" in Caracas.
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