Chavez transfers some powers to deputy

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Hugo Chavez has delegated some administrative responsibilities to Venezuela’s vice-president, allowing his close confidant to make decisions related to the budget, expropriations and government debt.

Mr Chavez passed on the duties to vice-president Nicolas Maduro on 8 December, three days before the socialist leader underwent cancer-related surgery in Cuba. The measure took effect yesterday upon its publication in the Official Gazette.

Mr Chavez travelled to Cuba after tests had found a return of malignant cells in the same area where tumours were removed.

Mr Chavez has remained in Cuba since undergoing the surgery on 11 December.

The president has been silent since the operation, raising doubts among many Venezuelans regarding the true state of the president’s health.

Mr Maduro announced on Christmas Eve that president was walking and talking, but the news did not ease uncertainty surrounding his condition in the South American country.