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Chavez in Good Condition After Cuba Cancer Surgery, VP Says

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is in good condition and recovering from surgery in Cuba to remove a lesion in his pelvic area where doctors previously detected cancer, Vice President Elias Jaua said.

Jaua, reading from a statement while speaking to the National Assembly on state television, said tests on the “lesion,” which was removed in its entirety, will become available in the coming hours.

“President Chavez finds himself in good physical condition, in the company of his family and in constant contact with his vice president and ministers,” Jaua said as allied lawmakers chanted “Oh no, Chavez won’t go!”

“There were no complications,” Jaua said. “In the coming hours, histological studies will be made available that will determine the best treatment.”

Chavez traveled to Cuba on Feb. 24 to undergo surgery to remove what he said was probably a malignant growth in the same pelvic area where doctors discovered cancer last year. Chavez has undergone two previous surgeries and four rounds of chemotherapy to treat his cancer.

Supporters, Spreads

The former tank commander, who is seeking re-election in October after 13 years in power, has declined to say exactly what kind of cancer he has or allow public access to his medical reports.

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said Chavez’s opponents have been hoping for the worst regarding the president’s health.

“Look at those bitter ones over there who become sad when someone improves,” Cabello said.

The yield on Venezuela’s benchmark 9.25 percent bonds maturing in 2027 fell 29 basis points, or 0.29 percentage point, to 10.51 percent at end of trading today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The price rose 2.03 cents to 90.42 cents on the dollar. The yield has fallen 138 basis points, or 1.38 percentage point, since Chavez announced he would need a third operation last week.

The extra yield that investors demand to own Venezuelan debt rather than U.S. Treasuries fell 41 basis points to 902 basis points, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global index.

Chavez’s third cancer operation has injected more uncertainty to the country’s economic and political environment ahead of the presidential vote, Fitch Ratings said in a report sent by e-mail today. The uncertainty “will remain” even if the government clarifies the state of Chavez’s health in the coming days, Fitch said.

“Each member of the nation’s armed forces felt joy today assured as we are that Chavez will continue lighting our way for many years to come,” Defense Minister Henry Rangel Silva said in comments on state television, adding that generals called him over the weekend inquiring about the president’s health.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at

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