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Chavez finishes first phase of chemotherapy
Venezuela's president announces he is "in the best mood possible" as he prepares for further cancer treatment in Cuba.
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2011 10:54
Chavez says he is ready for to move forward after completing a first chemotherapy treatment [Al Jazeera]

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has completed his "first cycle" of chemotherapy in Cuba and will soon begin the next phase of his cancer treatment.

The announcement came directly from the Venezuelan leader on Friday, who also said he was confident of winning re-election next year and staying in power for at least six more.

"This first cycle has been completed successfully. And now, well, we're preparing for a second cycle," Chavez said in a telephone call carried live on state television.

"There are various ones in this battle to finally defeat and eliminate any risk of the presence of malignant cells in this body, which is going to turn 57 years old."

Chavez broke into song during his call and chatted with some of those attending the gathering.

The comments were the first televised remarks by Chavez since he went to Cuba last Saturday to begin chemotherapy.

Until the Friday announcement, his only public statements have been via his Twitter account.

'Bombardment'

Chavez originally underwent surgery in Cuba on June 20 to remove a cancerous tumor.

He has not said what type of cancer he has been diagnosed with, saying only that it was located in his pelvic region.

The president said chemotherapy was necessary to ensure cancer cells do not reappear, and likened the the treatment to a "bombardment", saying, "It's the bomb against the illness".

"I'm in the best mood possible," Chavez said, adding that he felt a "will to live that has sprung up inside me like a volcano".

He did not say how soon the second phase of chemotherapy could begin or how soon he might return to Venezuela.

Chavez said he speaking from a meeting in Cuba with his foreign minister, energy minister, technology minister and directors of the state oil company. 

Hours later, state television showed video of Chavez at the meeting, appearing in an upbeat mood as he talked with aides.

In his phone call, Chavez announced that Venezuela will give $5m in famine relief to Somalia.

He also touted OPEC's recent recognition of Venezuela as the country with the biggest proven crude oil reserves, ahead of Saudi Arabia.

'We will win'

The president, in power since 1999, excitedly announced his participation in the next presidential race.

"I will live, I promise you, and we will win. And we're headed for the great victory of 2012, and for the new term of government, 2013 to 2019," Chavez said.

A poll released on Friday said Chavez's public approval rating remains at 50 per cent and has not significantly varied since his cancer diagnosis.

The Caracas polling firm Datanalisis surveyed 1,300 people earlier this month in a poll that had a margin of error of about 2.5 per cent.

Pollster Luis Vicente Leon said the president's popularity has hovered at similar levels for the past two years, down from the 63 per cent he had when he won an easy re-election in 2006.

The poll shows "the illness is not a variable," Leon said.

Source:
Agencies
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