The president “was very clear” that the country must be “prepared to face a tough and difficult situation” that can be overcome only if Venezuelans remain “united,” Maduro added. Maduro, Chavez’s preferred successor, also urged Venezuelans to unite in prayer for the 58-year-old president and keep faith he would return soon.
The vice president had earlier described the surgery to remove cancerous tissue as a “complete success.”
On Saturday, Chavez stated that he had to undergo another surgery after tests showed that “some malignant cells” had reappeared in the same part of his body from which cancerous tumors were previously removed.
The Venezuelan president called on his supporters to vote for Vice President Maduro in the event his health failed or anything happened to him.
In late March 2012, the Venezuelan leader began radiation treatment in Cuba after undergoing an operation in February 2012 that removed a second cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. Chavez’s first tumor, which was baseball-sized, was removed in June 2011 and then he received chemotherapy.
Chavez, who came to power in 1999, was re-elected in October to a new six-year term.