President Hugo Chavez should be home in 10 to 12 days after undergoing surgery in Cuba to remove a pelvic abscess, the Venezuelan leader’s brother said today.
Adan Chavez, the governor of Barinas state, said he had returned yesterday from visiting his younger brother and wanted to end the “wave of rumors and speculation” that have surrounded the president since he announced he had been operated on June 10.
“We still don’t know exactly when he’ll return -- we have to wait for the doctors’ evaluation -- but in a few days, 10 days, 12 days, he’ll be here,” Adan Chavez said in comments carried on state television.
Since Chavez, 56, traveled to the communist island and underwent unannounced surgery, a lack of information from the government has raised questions about his true state of health and triggered debates about whether he should be running South America’s largest oil producer from Cuba.
Chavez is continuing a “slow recovery,” Vice President Elias Jaua said today. He isn’t fully adhering to the advice of his doctors while he convalesces and continues to work from his hospital bed, Jaua told Caracas-based Union Radio today. The country is “functioning as it should” in his absence, Jaua said.
“The president is recovering -- he has a right to do that as a human being,” Jaua said. “The country has excellent stability in its politics and economy. There are institutions in the country that are functioning as they should.”
Chavez last spoke in public on June 12, when he told Telesur television network by phone that he decided to seek treatment in Cuba, the final stop in a tour of allied governments in Latin America, after feeling pain in his abdomen while in Brasilia and Ecuador. He gave no estimate as to how long his recovery would take, saying only that his injury was “delicate” and that there’s “no reason to hurry” home.
Chavez told Telesur he was “lucky” because the abscess wasn’t infected or malignant.
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his brother, current President Raul Castro, visited Chavez at a hospital on June 17, Cuban state newspaper Granma reported. Photographs published by Granma showed Chavez, wearing a track suit with the colors of his nation’s flag, talking and laughing with the Castro brothers in a hospital room.
The silence about Chavez’s recovery has fueled disputes among members of his government. Information Minister Andres Izarra, writing on his Twitter account, said June 20 that claims by lawmaker Saul Ortega that Chavez was due to return within hours were false.
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