The Venezuelan government announced Tuesday that the Cuban medical team attending President Hugo Chavez performed an "operational procedure" on him for a recurrence of cancer.

Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said in a nationally broadcast statement that Chavez was at that very moment undergoing his fourth surgery since 2011, when he was diagnosed with cancer, although he provided no details about the progress of the operation.

He said that Chavez, who traveled on Monday morning to Havana, continued to handle official business as he prepared for the surgery and that on Tuesday he had awakened "with a lot of energy and inspiration" and his "mind is always focused on the wellbeing of the people and the fate of the homeland."

He added that the 58-year-old president expressed "absolute confidence that he will overcome the obstacles that have arisen on the road of his life."

The government "along with the Venezuelan people and our brothers around the world will remain united in prayer and mobilized in action along with Commander Hugo Chavez and he will continue reporting on the evolution of the process of fully recovering his health," Villegas added.

Chavez returned to Venezuela early Friday after nine days of treatment in Cuba.

The president arrived in Cuba on Nov. 27 to undergo a new round of hyperbaric oxygenation and physical therapy, just six months after having finished radiation therapy.

The Venezuelan leader has had three surgeries since June 2011, when cancer was detected in his pelvic region.

The exact location of the cancer and its seriousness have never been officially revealed. EFE