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Venezuelan officials say President Chavez's recovery encouraging, but no date yet for his return


14:16, January 23, 2013

Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas delivers an official announcement about President Hugo Chavez at La Vineta, in Caracas, capital of Venezuela, on Jan. 22, 2013. Venezuelan officials have confirmed that recovery of President Hugo Chavez, who has been hospitalized in Havana, Cuba, for a new round of treatment of cancer since mid-December, is encouraging. Villegas, however, said on Tuesday there was no set date for Chavez's return to Venezuela. (Xinhua/AVN)

CARACAS, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) --Venezuelan officials have confirmed that recovery of President Hugo Chavez, who has been hospitalized in Havana, Cuba, for a new-round treatment of cancer since mid-December, has been encouraging.

Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas, however, said Tuesday there was no set date for Chavez's return to Venezuela.

"No date is set for his return yet," said Villegas, who added though the latest medical report on Chavez was "very encouraging."

The news, sent by Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is also Chavez's son-in-law, was spreading among senior officials at a cabinet meeting Tuesday.

In televised statements following the meeting, Villegas added " we are accompanying commandant Chavez with prayer, support and solidarity from all corners of Venezuela and the entire world ... in this fight for health."

Villegas echoed earlier statements made via Twitter by Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, who had visited Chavez in Cuba and said they had shared "jokes and chuckles" during their meeting.

Jaua was in Cuba this week to consult with Chavez regarding political matters, including the upcoming summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States" scheduled to be held later this week.

Jaua said Chavez "made decisions" on the participation of the Venezuelan delegation at the upcoming gathering, to be held in Santiago, Chile.

In a meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Monday, Jaua thanked Cuba for the "immense care" Cuba has provided Chavez, since the Venezuelan president was first diagnosed with cancer in summer 2011.

Earlier Tuesday, Bolivia's President Evo Morales said Chavez was in physical therapy preparing for his return from Cuba.

Chavez has been hospitalized since undergoing a fourth operation Dec. 11, 2012 on cancer that was first discovered in 2011.

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