CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez is recovering favorably despite suffering complications during cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president said Thursday amid uncertainty over the Venezuelan leader's health crisis and the country's political future.
A day after officials painted a grim picture of Chavez's health, Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced at a political rally that his condition "has evolved from stable to favorable, which supports maintaining the diagnosis of an increasing recuperation."
In the latest of a series of reports about the president's delicate condition, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Chavez was making a "progressive and favorable" recovery after suffering bleeding from Tuesday's surgery.
"This recovery process, nevertheless, will require a prudent period of time as a consequence of the complexity of the surgery performed," Villegas said.
Julian Molina, a cancer expert from the Mayo Clinic in the United States, said bleeding is not uncommon when doctors operate in the same place multiple times to remove cancerous tissue, as is the case with Chavez.
The government has been providing regular updates on the president's recovery following six hours of surgery in a slight easing of the secrecy that has surrounded Chavez's medical treatment since he fell ill last year. No clinical details have been provided, however.
The latest bulletin about Chavez's health came as supporters prayed for him at church services and as Venezuelans increasingly acknowledged the potential for political turmoil ahead if the leftist leader is unable be sworn in for his fourth term early next year - a possibility raised by his government.
One-man rule has been the glue that has held together Chavez's socialist movement, and he hadn't groomed any clear successor until he announced over the weekend that if cancer cuts short his presidency he wants Maduro to take over.