Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez's mental faculties are sound following a reportedly traumatic surgery earlier this week, a relative said today, according to the Associated Press.
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"He is in a process of progressive stabilization and has full intellectual capacity, sufficient to send this message to the Venezuelan people," Chavez's son-in-law, also the nation's science minister, said in a message on state television today, reported Reuters.
The charismatic Latin American leader is in recovery in Cuba, where accompanying relative Jorge Arreaza said he has been getting daily visits from Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
"He always stops by to personally find out about El Comandante's health condition and also to share his knowledge with all of us, and to give the family courage and encouragement," Arreaza said of the attentive Castro today, according to AP.
Chavez underwent what has been described as "complex" and "difficult" cancer surgery on Tuesday.
The exact diagnosis and length of his expected recovery was not entirely clear, and it has been suggested that he won't be well enough in time for the January 10 inauguration ceremony that would further extend his presidential rule.
Arreaza seemed eager to rule out such concerns today, saying the prognosis was good after some "moments of tension" earlier this week, said AP.
Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Thursday that Chavez was bleeding after the six-hour operation — his fourth in 18 months — and will need "corrective measures," according to Reuters.
"This process of recovery will take time," Villegas warned.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s chosen successor, on Wednesday said the surgery was "delicate" and the president faced an uphill recovery.
He further stated that if Chavez wasn't better by then, “our people should be prepared to understand it,” AP reported.