Two weeks after undergoing his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is walking, exercising and dealing with official matters, his vice president said.
Nicolas Maduro told state television that Chavez telephoned him from the Havana hospital where he is recuperating to issue a "set of work orders."
The president also asked him to convey Christmas greetings to "all the people of Venezuela, especially the little boys and girls," Maduro said.
It was the vice president's first direct conversation with Chavez since the 58-year-old head of state's Dec. 11 operation in the Cuban capital.
Most of their 20-minute phone call was devoted to government business, Maduro said, adding that Chavez has a "very clear agenda" for his next term, which starts in January.
Chavez is accompanied in Havana by his children and grandchildren and by Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza, the vice president said.
"Very attentive to issues, a lot of spirit, a lot of humor, always a lot of strength," Maduro said of the president.
Chavez, who took office in 1999, was re-elected in October for another six-year term.
He was first diagnosed with cancer after complaining of pain in his pelvic region during a June 2011 official visit to Cuba. Since then, the former paratrooper has undergone four surgical procedures and courses of chemotherapy and radiation. EFE