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Venezuelan minister says Chavez is in full control

By Paula Newton, CNN
updated 8:43 PM EDT, Fri April 27, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro says Chavez is doing well with treatment
  • He dismisses speculation that the October election could be postponed
  • The 57-year-old president has not specified the type of cancer he has

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN) -- Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said Friday that President Hugo Chavez is recovering well from cancer treatment and is in full control of all that is going on in the country.

"He's doing well with his treatment. He is very disciplined about his recovery, and he's aware of the all the tasks he has to undertake for the country," the minister told CNN after a campaign stop at a Caracas school.

The Venezuelan president has been back and forth this year between Venezuela and Cuba, where he is undergoing treatment for an unspecified type of cancer. He returned home from his latest trip Thursday.

Asked if Chavez, 57, would return to Cuba on Saturday, Maduro said he did not yet have those details.

Chavez quells rumors about death

"We don't know exactly when he'll go back (to Cuba), but he has to go back. We don't know yet, we'll see," he said.

The Venezuelan government has released few specifics on the president's illness, fueling widespread speculation about his health and political future.

Presidential elections are scheduled for October, and it is not clear how Chavez's diagnosis will impact his candidacy.

A high-ranking member of the president's party reportedly suggested this week that postponing the elections might be a possibility. But Maduro dismissed the idea, telling CNN the vote would go ahead as planned.

"Of course, the election is scheduled for October 7, and October 7 will be decision day. Our people will have a full democratic debate," the minister said, predicting a Chavez victory.

The president will face Henrique Capriles, 39, who cruised to an easy primary win in February.

A former tax attorney, Capriles was the mayor of Baruta, a Caracas suburb, before winning the governorship of Miranda, which adjoins the Venezuelan capital.

Some analysts have suggested Maduro could be a possible successor to Chavez, in the event of severe illness or death. He shares the president's modest roots and populist persona and polls show he is one of the most-liked members of Chavez's Cabinet.

The outspoken, flamboyant socialist leader has led Venezuela since 1999.

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