Chavez recovers from respiratory infection

Mexico City, Jan 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has recovered from a respiratory infection he contracted after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba, a minister said.

"Fortyfive days after the complicated surgery, the patient recovers normally, his serious respiratory infection has been overcome. Though certain respiratory inefficiency persists, he is receiving the required treatment," Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said on state TV.

He said that despite his illness, the 58-year-old Chavez continues to "play active role" in the country's politics.

The minister criticised the media for publishing what he called "fake photos" of Chavez in Cuba.

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said upon his arrival from Cuba Friday that Chavez was feeling much better than he has done since undergoing surgery.

Chavez was smiling, optimistic, and believes the treatment will work.

Chavez, who has ruled Venezuela for 13 years, has had four operations for cancer and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela within a year.

His fourth operation, to remove cancerous tissue, took place in Cuba Dec 11.

His inauguration was slated for Jan 11, but he was unable to attend due to health reasons.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

pm/vt

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