Maduro says an energetic Chavez met 5 hours with gov't

Caracas, Feb 23 (EFE).- Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday that President Hugo Chavez met with members of his government team for 5 1/2 hours to discuss various topics, about which he expressed his views in writing and seemed "very energetic."

"We had these three working sessions which together took around 5 1/2 hours. He was very energetic with a lot of spirit, a lot of strength and vitality, and that makes us all very happy," Maduro said in a statement broadcast on state television.

The vice president said the president expressed "his immense happiness to be in his beloved Caracas."

He said that in the meeting, which began at 5:45 p.m. Friday and lasted until just before 11:30 p.m., they made notes, exchanged ideas, and at one moment the president "spent time with his daughters" and one of his grandchildren.

Maduro's statement comes after the government said Thursday that Chavez's respiratory insufficiency, which began after his last operation, persists and its outlook "has not been favorable," though his treatment for cancer continues without "significantly adverse" effects.

Chavez returned to Venezuela on Monday after spending more than two months in Cuba, where on Dec. 11 he underwent his fourth operation in 18 months for a cancer that is known to be in the pelvic region though its exact nature has never been revealed.