Venezuelan congressional chief travels to Cuba to see Hugo Chavez

The president of Venezuela's National Assembly has traveled to Cuba to visit President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering on the island more than seven weeks after undergoing cancer surgery.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced in a televised speech that National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello departed for Cuba on Thursday.

Maduro says Cabello is taking a message from allies for Chavez and will consult with the president on political matters.

Chavez hasn't appeared or spoken publicly since before his Dec. 11 operation for an unspecified type of pelvic cancer. The government has said recently that Chavez's condition has been improving and that he has overcome a severe respiratory infection.