Venezuelan vice president visits ailing Chavez in Cuba

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez  has not disclosed what type of cancer he has.

Story highlights

  • Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro visits Hugo Chavez, state-run media reports
  • The Venezuelan president had recent cancer surgery in Cuba
  • Chavez won re-election in October

Venezuela's vice president arrived in Cuba early Saturday to visit President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering from a recent cancer surgery, a Cuban state newspaper reported.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro arrived with Attorney General Cilia Flores at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, according to the newspaper, Granma International.

A week ago, the vice president told state-run Venezuelan Television that Chavez's recovery "is progressing with each day that passes."

The Venezuelan president first announced he was battling cancer in June 2011. He has not disclosed what type of cancer he has, and the Venezuelan government has released few details about his illness.

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The lack of information has fueled widespread speculation about his health and political future.

Last year, Chavez had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, and has undergone further surgery and radiation in Cuba since. He declared himself cancer-free in July.

Health rumors dogged Chavez on the campaign trail this year, but didn't stop him from winning re-election in October.

Chavez returned to Cuba this month to undergo another surgery after publicly revealing his cancer had returned.

He underwent a six-hour surgical procedure on December 11 that Maduro declared a success in a televised address.

Last week, the country's information minster said Chavez was battling a respiratory infection. Minister Ernesto Villegas said then that the infection was controlled.

Last week, Villegas and another top government official struck a somber tone when discussing the president's illness. Villegas has suggested Chavez might not be not be back in Venezuela in time for his inauguration scheduled for next month.

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