Chavez In Recovery After Cancer Operation, Says Venezuelan Vice President

 @crvillarreal
on December 12 2012 12:50 PM
Hugo Chavez
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during a national broadcast at Miraflores Palace in Caracas Dec. 9, 2012. REUTERS

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has survived a six-hour emergency operation in Cuba, with surgeons removing cancerous tissue from his body, according to Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro said in a televised address Tuesday evening after the operation that it was a “complete success,” the BBC reported.

This has been the fourth medical procedure Chavez has gone through since it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer, following his first operation in June 2011.

"There were complex moments but, fortunately, this giant -- our commander -- again shows us his strength," Maduro said, according to CNN.

Prior to departing for Cuba for the operation, Chavez named Maduro as his political successor, asking his supporters to rally behind the vice president should he be unable to continue in office.

"My firm opinion, as clear as the full moon -- irrevocable, absolute, total -- is ... that you elect Nicolas Maduro as president," Chavez said, CNN reported.

"I ask this of you from my heart. He is one of the young leaders with the greatest ability to continue, if I cannot."

Under the Venezuelan constitution, if the president leaves office within the first four years of his term, new elections must be held within 30 days.

Chavez was reelected to his third six-year term in October and has been in office since 1999.

The Socialist leader is expected to remain in Havana for several days to recover form the operation.

"We're waiting for you here," Maduro said in his address from Caracas,  the Associated Press reported.

"You have to return, and we're waiting for you here, your children, we who've sworn to be loyal to you even beyond this life."

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