CARACAS, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is recuperating after a recent cancer surgery, local media reported Tuesday.
Chavez was able to leave bed rest to walk about and do some exercises as part of his post-operative recovery program, Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced late Monday, in the latest official update on the president's state of health.
Chavez called Maduro from Havana, Cuba, where he underwent surgery, and "during the 20-minute conversation that we had, he was walking, doing some exercises that are part of his daily treatment," Maduro told state-run VTV by phone.
News of the call from Chavez, which Maduro said was "a Christmas present," sparked a flurry of hopeful messages on social networking site Twitter by Venezuelans loyal to the ailing head of state.
During the call, Chavez was "in a good mood," and both inquired and gave instructions on a range of topics, including the economy and the swearing in of governors elected in Dec. 16 regional elections, in which the ruling socialist party won 20 of the country's 23 states.
"Practically throughout the 20 minutes, about 15 minutes were given to instructions and orders on issues vital to the country's economy, social programs, the national program," said Maduro.
Chavez underwent a fourth round of surgery on Dec. 11, since he was first diagnosed with cancer in the pelvic region in June 2011. His health has been the subject of intense media coverage, since he is scheduled to be sworn in to a third six-year term on Jan. 10.
Maduro said Monday if Chavez is not be well enough to take the oath of office on that day, he can do so later before the Supreme Court, as stipulated by law.