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Chávez starting more medical treatment in Cuba

SANTIAGO, Chile — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has defeated a respiratory infection and has begun additional medical treatment in Cuba after struggling with complications following cancer surgery more than six weeks ago, a government spokesman said Saturday.

Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said that it remains unclear how soon Chávez could return home, and did not specify the kind of treatment he is receiving.

"Vice President (Nicolas) Maduro estimates that the time it could take President Chávez to return is within weeks. But we haven't wanted to fix an exact time frame for the president's recuperation," Villegas told reporters on the sidelines of a 60-nation summit in Chile.

He read a statement that went beyond past government reports in providing additional information about Chávez's Dec. 11 surgery, but didn't describe the newest treatment. Authorities in the past have reported on specific treatments, including chemotherapy. "Forty-five days after carrying out a complex surgical intervention for the removal of a malignant lesion in the pelvis, with severe, acute complications, the patient's general evolution is favorable," Villegas said, reading the statement. "At this time, the serious respiratory infection has been overcome," he said.

The 58-year-old president won re-election in October, and lawmakers indefinitely put off his inauguration this month in a decision that was condemned by opponents but upheld by the Supreme Court.

Deaths in prison

Venezuela's top prisons official said the government was evacuating a prison Saturday after a deadly clash between soldiers carrying out an inspection and armed inmates. A local hospital director said 61 people died and 120 were injured in the riot at Uribana prison in the central city of Barquisimeto on Friday. It was the latest in a series of bloody riots in the country's severely overcrowded prisons.

Chávez starting more medical treatment in Cuba 01/26/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 26, 2013 8:54pm]
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