( dpa ) - Brazilian Vice President Jose Alencar assumed command of the Brazilian government Monday from a Sao Paulo hospital, where he had to be admitted over the weekend to treat a spreading infection caused by chemotherapy.
Alencar, 76, is undergoing treatment against abdominal cancer.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva travelled to Guatemala on Monday, for the inauguration of Alvaro Colom, and was set to travel to Cuba on Tuesday.
The Syrian-Lebanese Hospital in Sao Paulo said Monday that Alencar was "stable" and was undergoing treatment with antibiotics. There was no immediate estimate of when he might be released from hospital.
Alencar, a businessman and member of the conservative Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) - an organization linked to a pentecostal church - was Lula's running mate when he was first elected president in 2002.
Alencar has suffered from cancer for years, and has so far undergone six operations in an attempt to keep the illness under control. Last week, after undergoing chemotherapy, he admitted that his condition is serious.
"Pray for me, because things look bad," he then told reporters.
Alencar's poor health led Lula to cancel a week-long holiday he usually takes in early January.