Chavez working amid chemotherapy: VP

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is still in charge and mulling political, social and economic policies even as he receives a new round of chemotherapy, his vice president said Saturday.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that the socialist leader, who is convalescing in seclusion at a Caracas military hospital, sent "guidance" to his cabinet as recently as Friday.

"He is staying informed and in charge as chief who was ratified by our people various times," Maduro said during an event broadcast on state-run television. "Comandante Chavez is the supreme leader of the Bolivarian revolution."

The opposition says the government is lying about Chavez's condition and has voiced doubts that the 58-year-old president held a five-hour meeting with his cabinet on February 22 as the government claims.

But Maduro repeated that the meeting took place and that the president sent more instructions the next day with Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, his son-in-law, before giving more guidance on Friday.

The leftist leader's chosen successor showed a dossier containing "political, social and economic actions" that Chavez has requested "to continue strengthening the economy to face the economic war of the parasitic bourgeoisie."

The "central document" will be sent to Chavez, he said, adding that the government was "respecting his treatment, we are not acting in an invasive way in his treatment."

Chavez, who was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011, underwent a fourth round of surgery in Cuba in December.

Maduro disclosed for the first time late Friday that Chavez began a new cycle of chemotherapy in January and decided to return to Caracas last month to continue a "more intense" phase of treatment.