|Chavez was visited by Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former leader, after undergoing surgery in Havana, Cuba’s capital [Reuters]|
Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, is recuperating well from surgery in Cuba and is expected to return home within 12 days, according to his brother.
Adan Chavez told state television on Wednesday that it was “unclear” when exactly the leader, who underwent treatment for a pelvic abscess on June 10, would depart for Venezuela.
“The president is recovering in a satisfactory manner,” he said. “The president is a strong man.”
The statement came after Chavez’s absence and relative silence concerned some of his supporters.
Chavez, 56, has spoken by telephone on state television several times since the surgery, but Venezuelans are accustomed to their president’s near daily speeches and television appearances.
In a comment that further fueled speculation about his health, Chavez said that no “malignant” signs had been found. Neither Chavez nor doctors treating him have disclosed what caused the abscess.
Elias Jaua, Venezuela’s vice president, said Chavez was attending to his day-to-day government duties while recovering.
“He’s signing documents for social security retirees and resources for the education ministry, reading reports,” Jaua told Union Radio.
“The president is following all current events in the country.”
Chavez is expected to be back in the country in time to host a summit of Latin American leaders on July 5.
Chavez has forged close relations with Cuba during more than a decade in power, claiming kinship between the island’s socialist system and his own self-styled “Bolivarian revolution”.
Cuba is renowned for its healthcare system, with many Cuban doctors and dentists working in poor communities in Venezuela and other Latin American countries in return for oil.