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Hugo Chavez 'joking and laughing'

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is joking and laughing with visitors as he recovers from cancer surgery, the country's foreign minister has said.

Elias Jaua, who met Mr Chavez in Cuba on Monday, gave details on his official Twitter account.

He said the ailing leader made decisions about Venezuela's participation in this weekend's Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit in Chile, and was "very happy because the Bolivarian dream continues advancing".

Mr Jaua wrote: "I transmit all his blessings and love for you, his beloved Venezuelan people. Viva Chavez!"

However he did not provide any specific details on Mr Chavez's illness or say how long their meeting lasted.

Venezuela's socialist president has not been seen or heard from in public since his operation in Cuba on December 11, and was unable to make his scheduled inauguration for a new term earlier this month.

On Sunday, vice president Nicolas Maduro said in a televised interview that Mr Chavez is finishing with a "post-operative" phase of his treatment and will next enter a "new phase of treatment", which he said would be announced.

"He's climbing the hill. He is becoming stabilised in all his values," Mr Maduro said, without giving specifics.

Officials have not given specific details about the nature of his cancer.

The opposition has demanded more information about Mr Chavez's condition.


From Belfast Telegraph