"Laughing" Chavez gives orders from Cuba - Venezuelan minister

CARACAS Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:10am IST

A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wears a hat with an image of President Hugo Chavez outside the national assembly, while vice president Nicolas Maduro delivers the state of nation, in Caracas January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wears a hat with an image of President Hugo Chavez outside the national assembly, while vice president Nicolas Maduro delivers the state of nation, in Caracas January 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jorge Silva

Related Topics

CARACAS (Reuters) - Hugo Chavez is joking and giving instructions again, an ally said on Monday, in the latest positive comment from an official six weeks after the Venezuelan president's disappearance from public sight for cancer surgery in Cuba.

Rumors earlier this month that Chavez was on life support have given way in the last few days to speculation that he may soon return to Venezuela. The more positive talk has been fueled by comments from officials that Chavez has been gradually improving from a grave post-operation situation.

"Comrades, I'm coming out of the meeting with our commander-president, Hugo Chavez," recently appointed Foreign Minister Elias Jaua tweeted from Havana after a visit with Chavez.

"We shared jokes and laughed."

Chavez took decisions over Venezuela's participation in a forthcoming Latin American summit in Chile, added Jaua, the latest of a parade of officials to visit the president, who is presumed to be convalescing in Havana's Cimeq hospital.

Though Venezuelan officials appear more upbeat, the usually garrulous and attention-seeking Chavez, 58, remains unseen and not been heard from in public since the December 11 operation, his fourth for a cancer first detected in mid-2011 in the pelvic area.

Opponents remain skeptical, asking why Chavez cannot speak to the nation if it is true that he can chat with ministers.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro is running Venezuela's government in Maduro's absence, but said at the weekend he was hopeful that Chavez may be home soon. Rumors are rife that a military hospital in Caracas is being prepared to receive him.

Opposition leaders are demanding to know if the socialist president remains fit to continue his 14-year rule.

If declared incapacitated, under Venezuela's constitution, a caretaker president should be named and an election held within 30 days in the South American OPEC nation.

(Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; editing by Christopher Wilson)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Neclear Restart

Neclear Restart

Japan's Sendai nuclear restart in final stage: local governor.  Full Article 

Fight Unites

Fight Unites

Kurds' battle for Kobani unites a people divided by borders.  Full Article 

Railway Revamp

Railway Revamp

China to spend at least $33 bln on new railway lines.  Full Article 

Controversial Remark

Controversial Remark

Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves.  Full Article 

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle

Cook Speaks Up

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle.  Full Article 

Gas Deal

Gas Deal

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal.  Full Article 

Jerusalem Tensions

Jerusalem Tensions

Kerry urges restraint, expresses worry over tensions in Jerusalem.  Full Article 

Myanmar Roundtable

Myanmar Roundtable

Obama urges progress in Myanmar ahead of rare roundtable.  Full Article 

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

National Guard arrives in Hawaii town threatened by lava.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage