VENEZUELAN President Hugo Chavez has sent out messages from Cuba saying he is recovering well from an operation for a suspected recurrence of cancer.

Mr Chavez used the Twitter social network to tell officials and supporters he would "live and win" after surgery in Cuba on Monday to remove a lesion from his pelvic region.  There has been no official word on whether the lesion was cancerous. The Venezuelan leader is due to stand for re-election in October.

Addressing Vice-President Elias Jaua who was visiting flower growers, Mr Chavez said: "Forward the agrarian revolution! We will live and we will win!". And in a message to the socialist children's brigades, he told them to "keep being such wonderful role models to the Socialist homeland".                      –BBC

On Friday, Cuban media had released the first images of Mr Chavez since he underwent an operation for a suspected recurrence of cancer.

In the pictures, which officials say were taken in the Havana hospital where he had surgery, Mr Chavez is shown smiling broadly and walking unaided. He has said he is recovering well. In a phone call to Venezuelan television, he thanked the "love from the people".

He has not said when he will return to Venezuela. "I cannot neglect my recuperation treatment for even a minute,'' Mr Chavez said in the broadcast phone call. "I continue recovering, thanks to Venezuela's support, the Cuban people, the doctors here in Cuba, to the love from the people that fills me." "I'm taking flight, raising the fatherland of the future,'' he added.

The latest surgery comes as Mr Chavez prepares his campaign for re-election in October. The exact nature and extent of Mr Chavez's illness has never been made public, leading to persistent rumours that his health is worse than officially acknowledged. The Venezuelan leader had surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy in Cuba last year after a baseball-sized growth was detected in his pelvic region. BBC