Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez self-declared he was cancer-free on Thursday four months after surgery to remove a cancerous tumour that shook the oil rich country ahead of a 2012 presidential vote.
I am free of illness, Chavez, 57, said in an address to Venezuelans after touching down from Cuba in a western state where he plans to make a pilgrimage to a Catholic shrine.
Despite the ebullient declarations from the populist leader, most experts say it is impossible for a cancer patient to be considered out of danger until at least two years after treatment.
Dressed in green military uniform and speaking confidently, Chavez said tests he undertook in Cuba this week had shown there were no malignant cells in his body following four cycles of chemotherapy after the June 20 operation in Havana.
A vital stage has concluded, he added. The new Chavez is back ... We will live and we will continue living.
Chavez has not given precise details of his cancer, but the surgery was in his abdomen region. A former doctor of the Chavez family said that the charismatic leader is suffering from a very aggressive ‘pelvic tumour’ with a life span of two years at the most.