Venezuela’s Vice-President and acting leader Nicolas Maduro warned the nation of a tough road ahead on Wednesday, saying President Hugo Chavez faced a “difficult” recovery from cancer surgery.

His six-hour operation “was complex, difficult, delicate, which tells us that the post-surgery process will also be complex and difficult”, said Mr. Maduro, Mr. Chavez’s handpicked successor.

In one flash of confidence he did say: “Sooner rather than later, we will have our comandante (commandant) here”, but he gave no indication of when Mr. Chavez might return following Tuesday’s fourth round of cancer surgery. Mr. Chavez flew to Havana for surgery on Monday after revealing his cancer had returned just two months after his re-election to a new six-year term that begins on January 10. — AFP