Venezuela VP says Chavez 'gaining strength'
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is "gaining strength" and entering a "new phase" of cancer treatment in Cuba, his anointed political heir said, as doubts about his health mount in Caracas.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a statement on Sunday that the absent leader's "vital signs and organ function are stabilising, he is conscious and gaining strength for the next stage".
Maduro's remarks did not go far to address speculation among Venezuela's political foes that Chavez, who has not spoken publicly since December 10, is more ill than has been reported.
Chavez designated Maduro as his deputy before flying to Cuba for a fourth round of cancer surgery on December 11.
Opposition members have demanded Chavez speak to the Venezuelan people in state media if he is able, but he has not.