Venezuela's Chavez beats respiratory infection, minister says
January 28, 2013 -- Updated 1137 GMT (1937 HKT)
Hugo Chavez's recent public absence has given rise to questions from political opponents about who is running the country.
- NEW: "(He) is in the best moment," Venezuelan vice president says about Chavez
- Chavez, 58, has not been seen in public for weeks, not since his last cancer surgery
- He has overcome an infection, but still has some breathing problems, says a minister
(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has overcome a respiratory infection he contracted after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba last month, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas told reporters Saturday.
But the president still has some breathing problems and his treatment continues, Villegas said.
Chavez ally: Ailing president undergoing physical therapy
"The general evolution of the patient is favorable," said Villegas, who spoke in Santiago, Chile, where he is attending a meeting of European and Latin American leaders.
"The severe respiratory infection has been overcome, although there remains a certain degree of respiratory inefficiency, which is being treated," he said.
Venezuelan army backs Chavez amid uncertainty
Venezuelan opposition: Where is Chavez?
Chavez supporters stage rally
Venezuelan diplomat: Chavez is in charge
Villegas said that doctors have also started a "systematic medical treatment for the underlying illness, as a complement to the surgery on December 11."
Chavez, 58, has not made a public appearance since undergoing a fourth cancer surgery in Havana six weeks ago.
The government has not released any photographs of the ailing leader, and Chavez hasn't spoken on state television.
The long absence from the airwaves is not typical of the loquacious leader. And his lengthy stay in Cuba has sparked growing concerns from political opponents about who is running Venezuela while he's gone.
Chavez: Survivor and Venezuela's long-serving president
Villegas stressed that Chavez is still very much in charge of the country, meeting with leaders and making key decisions.
His statement on the president's heath was relatively upbeat. It followed similar comments made earlier in the day by Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who recently returned from visiting Chavez in Cuba.
"(He) is in the best moment that we've seen him in all these days of struggle," Maduro said.
The vice president told reporters that Chavez asked him to convey to the Venezuelan people that he was "optimistic ... holding on to Christ and to life."
CNN's Dana Ford, Nelson Quinones and Marilia Brocchetto contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.