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Chavez recovering, conscious after surgery

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is conscious and progressively recovering more than a week after cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president said Thursday.

In a televised address, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Chavez was receiving treatment for a respiratory infection and has been with his family resting.

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‘‘He’s well. He’s conscious,’’ Maduro said during the speech in central Guarico state. ‘‘He’s fighting a great battle . . . for his life, for his health.’’

Maduro reiterated that the president had undergone a complicated surgery.

The vice president’s remarks, which varied little from other recent updates on Chavez’s health, came as National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello defended his suggestion that Chavez’s Jan. 10 inauguration could be postponed — a statement that has fed uncertainty about the his recovery.

Maduro, however, had said Wednesday that he didn’t want to speculate about such a scenario and that the Supreme Court could settle any such question if needed.

Speculation has grown about Chavez’s condition more than a week after an operation in Cuba, his fourth in 18 months.

The 58-year-old Chavez has not spoken publicly since his Dec. 11 surgery for pelvic cancer, and on Tuesday the government said he had a respiratory infection, though it was controlled. Chavez also suffered bleeding during the six-hour operation.

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