(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has improved after a cancer operation and has started walking and exercising, the country's vice-president Nicolas Maduro has said.
Maduro told state TV he had spoken on the phone to Chavez, describing the call as "the best present we could get this Christmas", the (BBC) reported Tuesday.
Chavez underwent his fourth cancer operation on 11 December in Cuba but suffered a respiratory infection.
The president - in power since 1999 - won another term in October's election.
Earlier, Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said: "The patient has shown a slight improvement in his condition."
However, no pictures of Chavez after the surgery have been released so far. Chavez, 58, is scheduled to be sworn in on 10 January.
The lack of any word from Chavez for two weeks prior to the comments by the two senior officials raised serious concerns about his current condition and his ability to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Morales is expected to issue a statement later on Chavez's condition.