Chavez having 'rigorous' treatment
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is undergoing "rigorous treatment" as he recovers from surgery to remove a cancerous tumour, his deputy said.
Mr Chavez did not appear publicly on Friday or on Saturday, following a busy Thursday in which he addressed troops and spoke to a cabinet meeting for an hour and a half.
But messages continued appearing on his Twitter account and state television broadcast videos of Mr Chavez smiling as he met his father, mother and other relatives. It said on Saturday that the images were recorded the on two previous days.
"The president is moving along in his process. It's a delicate process," Vice President Elias Jaua said on television after an event at the National Assembly in honour of the nation's bicentennial.
Mr Jaua said it was "a rigorous treatment, and the entire nation has to accompany him to comply with his treatment".
Mr Chavez has said he underwent surgery in Cuba on June 20 to remove a tumour. The foreign minister said it was extracted from the same part of the "pelvic region" where Mr Chavez had an abscess removed nine days earlier.
Mr Chavez has not said what type of cancer is involved nor whether he is receiving chemotherapy, radiation or other treatments. He has said he has stitches on his abdomen from the operation.
He has slowed his normally fast-paced daily agenda in recent weeks, and the normally loquacious left-wing leader has limited the length of his speeches on orders from his doctors.
Russ Dallen, head of Caracas capital markets for BBO investment bank, said the announcement of Mr Chavez's illness and his limited public appearances since returning from Cuba had been received positively by investors, who had bid up prices for Venezuela's dollar-denominated bonds. He said: "The Venezuela bond market is now up 11% over the last three weeks."
A message on Mr Chavez's Twitter account said on Saturday that he was up at 5am, and then underwent medical exams before reading and talking to Mr Jaua by phone. In what has become a near-daily mantra, Mr Chavez said in another Twitter message: "We will live and we will win."