Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said this week that he will probably have to undergo a fourth cycle of chemotherapy for cancer, but insisted that he will campaign for re-election next year “with the energy that circumstances require”.
“We’re probably going for a fourth cycle of chemotherapy in the next few days, and then another full examination in October of all vital organs to make sure there are no malignant cells,” Chavez said in a telephone call to state television.
The populist leader said that this fourth cycle will be the last, and that afterwards a recovery phase will begin with more physical exercise as he prepares to host a Dec. 2 regional summit in Caracas.
“By that time I should be fully recovered for that kind of activity,” he said.
He also said that a minor throat infection that forced him to suspend several activities last weekend and Monday is “much better.”
Asked about any limitations that his illness might impose on his campaigning for the 2012 election, Chavez said that it is highly unlikely he’ll ever be a “shut-up”.
“It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see Chavez as a shut-up – a recovered Chavez will be campaigning around the country, travelling through the streets with the energy that circumstances require, but also using the technology and resources that we have now and that didn’t exist in 1998,” he said, referring to his first presidential campaign.
“Whether it’s by telephone, via chavezcandanga (his Twitter account), or street by street, town by town, Hugo Chavez will be the same as ever,” he said.
“What I do know for sure is that we’re headed for a great victory”.
The president has not disclosed the exact nature of the cancer, which was discovered in June when he fell ill during an official visit to Cuba, where doctors found the tumour while performing emergency surgery to remove an abdominal abscess.
It was only after a second operation in Havana to remove the tumour that Chavez disclosed he had cancer.