Chavez insists he is 'totally' cancer-free

2012-07-10 08:18

Caracas - Firebrand Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez insisted on Monday that he is "totally" cancer-free and ready to take on what promises to be a tough re-election battle without "physical restrictions".

"Free, totally free," he replied when asked by a reporter if he had beaten the disease, as he gears up for the bruising campaign against unified opposition rival Henrique Capriles ahead of the 7 October vote.

"Thanks to God, I am here and every day I feel in better physical condition, and I really don't think this expression 'physical restrictions'... will be a factor in the campaign," he told a news conference.

A little more than a year after revealing his cancer diagnosis, Chavez said he had worked "with a lot of discipline" in order to overcome the disease, adding that his last radiation treatment was two months ago.

Chavez has undergone surgery twice since June 2011 to remove cancerous tumours from his pelvis. The exact location and nature of the cancer has never been revealed.

The 57-year-old Venezuelan leader boasted that he had fully recovered once before, only to have to admit later that he had suffered a recurrence of the disease and would again seek treatment in Cuba.

Chavez has undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in Havana following his surgeries.

The leftist firebrand and frequent critic of the United States has nevertheless pledged victory in the 7 October election showdown with Capriles, the youthful former governor of Miranda state.

"Of course, I am not the same Chavez I was at age 40," he said, adding he would celebrate his 58th birthday on 28 July.

Several campaign rallies

Chavez said he had started jogging again on Sunday, adding: "Maybe soon I'll be ready to play baseball."

Most opinion polls put Chavez firmly in the lead, but Capriles is counting on undecided voters - estimated to be 35% of the electorate.

Capriles has claimed he will defeat Chavez, even predicting a 10-point margin of victory. He has vowed to tackle what he calls the country's three main problems - poverty, unemployment and violence.

Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, is facing his first serious election challenge as he vies for a new term that would cement his legacy both at home and abroad as Latin America's leading leftist.

He could rack up 20 years in office if he is re-elected in October and serves out his full term.

Venezuela's sometimes fractious opposition has united behind Capriles, a centre-leftist who says he admires Brazil's model of addressing poverty while fostering liberal economic development.

Chavez has scaled back his public appearances in recent months but led a mass rally on 1 July marking the official start of his re-election campaign.

"I would like to first thank Christ the Redeemer for allowing me to get through this difficult year and be with the Venezuelan people to start this battle," he said in a fiery 90-minute speech.

He said on Monday he would lead several campaign rallies later in the week outside the capital Caracas.

  • Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-07-10 09:12

    Long live combrade Chavez, the disceplined left still counts on your continued support for our brothers in Cuba. We are not related with blood or kinship,but we have common enermies and are therefore allies.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-10 09:20

      Chavez has kept his commitments to the poor—urban and rural.

      Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-07-10 10:56

      Yilonto ndimthanda nje, ukuba ujonga indlena uqoqosho lwelizwe lakhe eluthi luxhamlise wonke ubani,ze uphinde uzibuze umbuzo wokuba kutheni engafunwa yintshona, ungafumanisa into yokokuba yilento i oil yelalizwe ityisa abantu bayo.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-10 11:53

      Instead of re-injecting profits into the oil industry, he invested them in projects aimed at combating illiteracy, malnutrition, diseases, and other social ills. Rather than declaring huge dividends for investors, he helped Argentina's embattled President Kirchner buy down that nation's IMF debts of more than $10 billion (depriving western banks income from compounded interest)and he sold discounted oil to those who could not afford to pay the going price— including communities in the United States. He earmarked a portion of his oil revenues for Cuba so it could send medical doctors to impoverished areas around the continent (South America). You see in the post colonial world there are 2 kinds of non-European leaders, those who are craven puppets and allow the West to manhandle them and their countries, and there are those who oppose the West. Chavez belongs to the latter.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-10 19:34

      There must be two Venezuela's..... The one that I know, is one of the most corrupt and at the same time, violent countries in the world. There is also an extreme poverty !! But fortunately, like with that gaddafi, the oil p.sses out of the ground, so there are Billions to be thrown around with. For Chavez to boost that he has done so much, is pretty crappy. It is hard to imagine ANY leader who would have done worse. But I an understand your sentiments for this guy. He has a foul mouth, he HATES the West, and is friends with all the rubbish of this world, like that gaddafi dog, assad and Ahmadinejad. Rather an unintelligent reasons to judge a leader !!!!!

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