Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has suffered a strong bout of bleeding as an unexpected complication resulting from a cancer-related operation in Cuba, his government said.

Chavez, 58, won re-election in Venezuela two months ago, but has recently suffered a bout of health problems that threatens the progress of his “21st century socialism” efforts, according to Reuters

On Tuesday, Chavez underwent his fourth cancer-related surgery in 18 months, and while it was supposed to be a relatively  open-and-shut operation, a complication in the procedure left the Venezuelan president with an unexpected bout of bleeding. However, government officials have assured news agencies that Chavez is squarely on the path to recovery.

"In the last few hours, his process of recovery has evolved from stable to favorable," Vice President Nicolas Maduro, the designated successor, told a group of Socialist Party members, according to Reuters. "That allows us to continue saying that there is a growing recovery in Comandante Hugo Chavez's situation."

Chavez was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011, though he has refused to elaborate on the type of cancer or any more important details about how it is affecting him. Earlier in the year, he claimed to be entirely cured in the lead-up to his re-election campaign, but this latest surgery and its complications seem to confirm that Chavez is still battling seriously with the cancer.

On Jan. 10, Chavez is set to begin a new six-year term, though if his medical problems persist, he may not be able to assume the office. In the event that Chavez is unable to assume the Venezuelan presidency, the constitution states that the country must hold a new election within 30 days.

Chavez’s proposed “21st century socialism” campaign was the focus of his latest run for re-election, and while the effort has seen him praised by the nation’s poor, many of the capitalist-leaning members of his nation have cast Chavez as a dictator based on his latest efforts.

While Socialist Party members are counting on Chavez’s survival, at the same time, they are making preparations for his possible death due to cancer.

"At the same time as we pray, we should be ready to turn our sadness and pain into a force that can mobilize the people," Aristobulo Isturiz, a close ally of Chavez, told Reuters.