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Venezuela State Elections Held under Shadow of Chavez Cancer

Venezuelans voted Sunday in state elections overshadowed by President Hugo Chavez's latest and seemingly toughest battle against cancer.

The vote for the 23 state governors of the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves will be a test for Henrique Capriles, the opposition leader Chavez beat in presidential elections in October.

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Venezuela Slams Obama over 'Vile' Chavez Remarks

Venezuela warned Friday that remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama describing the policies of ailing President Hugo Chavez as "authoritarian" could seriously harm already strained bilateral relations.

Caracas "strongly rejects the outrageous remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama regarding President Hugo Chavez and Venezuela," said Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas, reading a statement from the Miraflores presidential residence.

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'How Are My People?' Chavez Asks Post-Surgery

Hugo Chavez's first words after emerging from surgery were "How are my (Venezuelan) people?" according to officials, who proclaimed here Friday that the ailing leader is on the road to recovery.

Venezuela's Information Minister Ernesto Villegas told reporters that Chavez spoke with family members immediately after an operation to control bleeding after his cancer surgery earlier this week, and that his recovery was proceeding "satisfactorily."

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Chavez Suffered 'Complications' but Recovering

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez experienced "complications," including bleeding, during his cancer surgery, but is showing positive signs of recovery, senior aides said Thursday.

During his treatment, 58-year-old Chavez had suffered "bleeding that required the adoption of corrective measures," Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said in a television and radio address.

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Chavez Cancer Surgery Successful

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an ailing icon of the Latin American left, was recovering after a successful cancer operation in Cuba, his vice president and chosen successor said Tuesday.

A visibly moved Nicolas Maduro, to whom Chavez delegated power before undergoing a fourth round of cancer surgery in Havana, said Chavez would shortly begin a "post-operative phase" that would last several days.

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Chavez Readied for Surgery, Doctors Optimistic

President Hugo Chavez' medical team expressed "optimism" on Tuesday as the cancer-stricken Venezuelan president prepared to undergo a fourth round of surgery in Cuba.

Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said doctors had begun pre-surgery protocols and would operate later in the day in Havana, where Chavez had arrived on Monday after revealing that his cancer had returned.

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Chavez in Cuba for More Cancer Surgery

President Hugo Chavez returned to Cuba Monday for cancer surgery after naming Vice President Nicolas Maduro his political successor and warning his leadership team to refrain from intrigues.

Chavez was shown on Venezuelan television pumping his fist and shouting "Forward to life always" in an emotional predawn farewell before boarding a plane to Cuba surrounded by his closes aides.

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Chavez Admits Cancer Relapse, Designates Heir Apparent

Leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez admitted a relapse of his cancer late Saturday and designated Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his heir apparent in case "something happened" to him.

Speaking on national television, an emotional Chavez said a return of cancer cells was detected during his most recent visit to Cuba for medical examination, and he will return to the communist-ruled island as early as Sunday for another round of surgery.

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Chavez Returns from Cuba after Cancer Treatment

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appeared in public for the first time in three weeks on Friday as he returned from Cuba after his latest cancer treatment.

Venezuelan state TV showed Chavez, who was re-elected in October, walking down the steps of his plane accompanied by Vice President Nicolas Maduro, and he was seen speaking with officials at Maiquetia international airport.

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U.S. Says Aware of Assad Asylum Offers

The United States said Wednesday it was aware of informal offers of asylum to Syrian President Bashar Assad by countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner gave no details, referring reporters to others governments after being asked about speculation that the Syrian president was weighing asylum offers from Latin America.

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