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.