Chavez begins new treatment course - Vice President

MEXICO CITY. January 26. KAZINFORM Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, recuperating in Cuba after surgery for cancer, has started an additional course of treatment, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday.

"The Comandante [Chavez] is now undergoing a supplementary course of treatment to help him fight this illness," Maduro was quoted by local media as saying.

On his return from Cuba, Maduro told journalists that Chavez says that he is feeling much better than he has done since undergoing surgery; he is smiling, optimistic, and believes the treatment will work, Kazinform refers to RIA Novosti.

Chavez also gave Maduro several addresses to deliver, including one to the Venezuelan people, which the Vice President read out.

"Do not drop your guard in the face of the continuing conspiracy of imperialist and rightist forces," Maduro quoted Chavez as saying. The Venezuelan leader also called on the people to fight the lies allegedly spread by the opposition.

Local media also reported that Maduro would read Chavez's address to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit, which opens on Sunday in the Chilean capital Santiago.

Chavez, 58, who has ruled Venezuela for 13 years, has had four operations for cancer and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela within a year. His fourth operation, to remove cancerous tissue, took place in Cuba on December 11.

His inauguration was slated for January 11, but he was unable to attend due to health reasons. On January 9, Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled to postpone Chavez's inauguration until he has completed his latest round of treatment.

According to the latest official reports, Chavez has been having treatment for ''respiratory deficiency'' after complications from a severe lung infection.

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