London, Jan. 21 : Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro has said President Hugo Chavez is `gaining strength' following complications after cancer surgery.
Maduro said Chavez had finished `the post-operative period' and was entering a new phase of treatment.
Chavez had an operation for an undisclosed form of cancer in Cuba on 11 December and has not been heard or seen in public since, the BBC reports.
Maduro said he was optimistic Chavez would soon return to Venezuela.
According to the report, speaking in an interview with private Venezuelan television network Televen, Maduro said that Chavez's `vital signs and organ function are stabilising'.
Maduro said he had spoken to the president on a number of occasions.
He said that Chavez was concentrating on his treatment, following the medical advice he was given `with discipline'.
Before leaving Venezuela for treatment in Cuba, Chavez, who has been in office since 1999, named Maduro as his choice to replace him should anything happen, the report added. (ANI)