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Chavez proclaims “I will overcome”, admits radiation treatment for cancer

Monday, March 5th 2012 - 05:32 UTC
Full article 5 comments
In spite of the diagnosis Chavez made a 90-minute address to Venezuelans to show he is in command In spite of the diagnosis Chavez made a 90-minute address to Venezuelans to show he is in command

President Hugo Chavez said he will need radiation treatment for cancer in the run-up to Venezuela's October presidential poll though he insisted there was no metastasis after the removal of another tumour.

“I will live! I will overcome!” the 57-year-old populist leader said in a televised meeting with some cabinet colleagues from Cuba, where he underwent an operation six days ago for a recurrence of the cancer that first struck him last year.

Chavez's comments about his health came at the end of a 90-minute address to Venezuelans, in which he expressed confidence in his recovery, told jokes, signed state papers and even broke into song.

He is seeking to extend his 13-year rule at a presidential election in October, but his health problems have raised doubts about his capacity to campaign for the presidency or to rule for another six-year term should he win.

Last year, Chavez claimed - wrongly - to be completely cured, so some Venezuelans are sceptical about his own diagnostics and rumours persist in some pro-opposition media circles that he could be dying.

His election rival, 39-year-old opposition leader and Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles, is keeping quiet on the health saga, simply wishing Chavez a speedy recovery. But Capriles may benefit politically from the contrast between his own image of youth and energy and that of the ailing president.

In Chavez's comments from Cuba, shown on Sunday but recorded on Saturday, he varied between enthusiasm and introspection.

“We are all human, we are all extinguishable, more so with the life I have had, where one year seems like a hundred,” said Chavez. He stormed to power as an outsider for the 1998 election and has since then survived street protests, a brief coup, an oil strike and the opprobrium of the United States.

Chavez gave no word on when he would return to Venezuela.

He scoffed at “speculators with nothing better to do”, who had suggested his cancer had spread - or metastasized - to other organs. Some pro-opposition journalists have reported that.

”They (doctors) proved the absence of any other lesions either locally, or in nearby organs, or in ones further away. Neither was there metastasis, thank God.“

A two-centimetre tumour had been successfully removed from the same pelvic area where a larger, baseball-sized growth was taken out in 2011, Chavez said.

”My recovery is firm, fast and sustained, honestly,”

Radiation would, however, be needed, the president said, without giving details of how long it would take. If Chavez is prevented from actively campaigning, it would be the first time in about a dozen national polls that the famously energetic campaigner has not criss-crossed the nation to woo voters.

Chavez, a close friend of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, prefers treatment in Havana because he is guaranteed discreet treatment and a lower possibility of media leaks.

Within minutes of Chavez's broadcast, senior allies at home pledged loyalty and unity - seeking to scotch speculation of an ugly struggle for political succession within the upper echelons of the ruling Socialist Party.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

Top Comments

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  • ChrisR

    I am sure that his panel of international doctors are telling him this story to keep him focussed to get better.

    I still stand by my 12 month to live forcast, made 3 months ago.

    Sadly, I have seen this a number of times and know the signs: he has been on steroids since the last surgery in an attempt to boost the immune system. This is why his face has ballooned and he has put wieght on.

    This latest attempt at radiography in a very difficult part of the body has not got a good track record of success. I still think he should resign and spend what time he has left with his family.

    Mar 05th, 2012 - 10:48 am 0
  • wesley mouch

    Thank God that this parasite is dying. We hope Castro is next

    Mar 05th, 2012 - 11:18 am 0
  • ptolemy

    @2 It's bad form to wish people death, in particular, cancer.

    Mar 05th, 2012 - 01:24 pm 0
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