Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's cancer operation in Cuba was a complete success, according to his deputy and chosen successor Nicolas Maduro.

In a broadcast on Venezuelan state TV, Vice-President Maduro said the surgery in Cuba was “complicated” and had lasted more than six hours.

It was the president's fourth cancer-related operation since he was taken ill in June 2011.

At the weekend, Mr Chavez spoke for the first time about a possible successor, naming Mr Maduro as his preferred candidate.

Mr Maduro, who is seen as a moderate who has developed alliances around the world during six years a s foreign minister, would assume power if Mr Chavez has to step aside.

He would then have to run as the Socialist Party's candidate in an election against the opposition.