Hugo Chavez's Condition is Stabilizing, Says VP Nicolas Maduro

The government of Venezuela is continuing to stay positive about the health of President Hugo Chávez.

On Saturday Vice President Nicolás Maduro said that Chávez's condition is becoming increasingly stable as the socialist leader recovers from a cancer-related operation in Cuba.

Maduro, who is also Chávez's successor, said ruling party member Cilia Flores gave him the update on Chávez's recovery upon her return from the communist-led island.

"Each day that passes, his recovery is more stable and he's receiving the best treatment," Maduro told a crowd of government supporters in Yaracuy state.

Chávez underwent surgery Dec. 11, about two months after being elected to another six-year presidential term. It was his fourth cancer-related operation since June 2011.

Complications following the latest surgery and Chávez's silence since the procedure have thrown into doubt whether he will be able to return to Venezuela for his Jan. 10 inauguration.

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said earlier Saturday that ruling party lawmakers, who hold a majority in the legislature, won't call a new presidential election if Chávez can't return from Cuba in time for the swearing-in ceremony.

"That's not going to happen," he said.

Cabello's statement pointed to an impending legal dispute that would likely be resolved by Venezuela's Supreme Court, which is packed with justices appointed by pro-Chávez lawmakers.

Opposition leaders argue that the constitution does not allow for a president's inauguration to be postponed.

On Thursday, Maduro said Chávez has been with his family resting while receiving treatment for a respiratory infection.

In addition to the infection, the 58-year-old Chávez also suffered bleeding during the operation, which the government said was promptly stanched.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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