Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, making his first public appearance since having a tumor removed in Cuba, promised supporters that he will win his battle against cancer though it will likely take some time.
Speaking from a balcony at the presidential palace in Caracas yesterday evening, Chavez described how he underwent surgery on June 20 after doctors diagnosed a malignant tumor following an operation to treat a pelvic abscess 10 days earlier. He said he was in intensive therapy for four days, and “it’s a miracle I am here considering how I was.”
“We haven’t won the battle but we have started to beat the evil incubated in my body,” he told a crowd gathered outside the palace. “The first stage of complementary treatment already started. There will be a second and third stage.”
Chavez surprised Venezuelans by returning from Cuba early yesterday after spending almost a month on the communist island. Government officials lacking Chavez’s clout with Venezuela’s poor have struggled to fill the void left by the convalescing leader. His return was an attempt to silence opponents who had been pressuring him to temporarily relinquish power, said Diego Moya-Ocampos, a political risk analyst with London-based IHS Global Insight.
“There was pressure for the president to come back,” Moya-Ocampos said in a phone interview. “I think he was advised it was unsustainable for him to continue ruling from Cuba.”
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