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Venezuela vice president optimistic Chavez will soon return

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 20, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.

— Venezuela’s vice president said he’s optimistic that Hugo Chavez will soon return to Venezuela following cancer-related surgery in Cuba.

Nicolas Maduro said the ailing president is still recovering following the operation for an unspecified type of pelvic cancer.

Chavez has not spoken publicly or been seen since the Dec. 11 surgery in Cuba.

The socialist leader’s long absence has spurred much speculation regarding his health.

Many opposition politicians argue Chavez is not fit to continue governing Venezuela. The president’s allies reject those allegations.

Maduro spoke during a televised interview on Sunday.

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