HAVANA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's ailing President Hugo Chavez is recovering well from a cancer operation he underwent last December in Havana, media sources reported Monday, quoting Cuban former leader Fidel Castro.
"He is much better, recovering. It has been a hard fight, but he has been getting better. We have to cure him," Castro said Sunday at a polling station, where he went to vote in general elections. He is nominated as a deputy to Parliament.
Chavez "is very important to his country and to Latin America," the state daily Granma cited Castro as saying.
Castro stressed Chavez's key role in the region, adding that the Venezuelan leader was also "one of the main architects" of the fledgling regional bloc, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Chavez, 58, has been battling an unspecified type of cancer since first being diagnosed in June 2011, and underwent a fourth round of surgery on Dec. 11.
His prolonged absence from the public eye have fueled constant rumors about his state of health, including allegations from opponents that he was on life support.
Castro, who at 86 is often the subject of similar rumors, also talked of Cuba and his successor and brother Raul Castro's recent reforms.
"It is necessary to work on continually perfecting the country, it is a duty to modernize Cuba's socialist model, to modernize it, but without making mistakes," said Castro, who stepped down in 2006 due to health problems.
Last Sunday, general elections were held in Cuba to elect the 612 members of the National Assembly of People's Power and the 1, 269 delegates for 15 local assemblies.
According to preliminary figures from Cuba's National Electoral Council (CEN), more than 7,642,000 people voted, or 86.17 percent of all registered voters. The CEN said the full results will be announced later Monday.
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