Maduro didn’t discuss the upcoming inauguration plans, saying only that he’s hopeful Chavez will improve.
Chavez has been in office since 1999 and was re-elected in October, three months after he announced that his latest tests showed him to be cancer-free. If he dies or is unable to continue in office, the Venezuelan Constitution says a new election should be held within 30 days.
Before his operation, Chavez acknowledged he faced risks and designated Maduro as his successor, telling supporters they should vote for the vice president if a new presidential election was necessary.
The vice president said that Chavez ‘‘has faced an illness with courage and dignity, and he’s there fighting, fighting.’’
‘‘Someone asked me yesterday by text message: How is the president? And I said, ‘With giant strength,'’’ Maduro said. He recalled taking Chavez by the hand, saying ‘‘he squeezed me with gigantic strength as we talked.’’
Associated Press writer Christopher Toothaker contributed to this report.
Ian James on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ianjamesap