First photos of Chavez since December operation

He has not been seen in public since an operation in December, but a photo of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez alongside his two daughters shows a smiling leader.

The picture was taken in the Cuban capital Havana, where Chavez is said to be recovering.

Other photos show him reading a copy of the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma dated February 14, 2013.

“As of today the commander Chavez is able to breathe thanks to a cannula in his trachea. To treat his underlying disease, cancer, the medical team used aggressive treatment that is not free of complications,” said Information Minister Ernesto Villegas.

The pictures have been broadcast by the government, who have tried to reassure the public after Chavez missed his January inauguration.

December’s operation in Cuba was the president’s fourth in 18 months.

It is not publicly known what kind of cancer Chavez has.

There is a still a following for the leader, who has been in power since 2008, with supporters praying for his recovery and even swearing an oath of loyalty to him.