President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela speaking before the United Nations General Assembly. He appeared on the CNN television network on September 24, 2009., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Venezuela's Chavez to seek reelection despite illness
CARACAS, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has confirmed his reelection bid in 2012 despite his ongoing cancer treatment, official media reported Monday.
"I have not thought of retiring from the presidency," Chavez told the state-run "Orinoco Post" newspaper in a front-page interview entitled "Chavez will be candidate in 2012."
The comments were apparently aimed at dispelling wide speculation within local and foreign media on the possiblility of Chavez's reelection bid following the recent news on his cancer. After undergoing a surgery in Cuba on June 20 to remove a cancerous tumor, Chavez had said he would retire if his health deteriorated.
"If there would be any reasons, especially physical or mental reasons, then I would be the first one, in a responsible way (to retire)," he said at the time.
But the president said Monday he has "medical, scientific, human, loving, political reasons to stay ahead the government and in the candidature with even more strength than before."
"I feel in the best of spirit, mind, and soul. And the body continues to respond in a whole extraordinary way," he said.
On his recovery process, Chavez said the "exhaustive medical exams" with high technology equipment taken in last week's visit to Cuba had detected no malign cells in any part of his body.
The leader follows a strict physical exercise routine as well as a healthy nutrition program, and received the first round of chemotherapy sessions during his stay in Havana.
"It is a strong attack on the source of the outbreak of the disease to prevent that it will re-emerge in another part of the body. That is the reason for the chemotherapy, to curb any possibility of a new outbreak," he said.
Chavez, turning 57 on July 28, says he will do it "with my people like never before."
His birthday celebration plan has not been revealed but it is expected that a massive event would held in which Chavez would thank followers for support that he has received since his illness was disclosed.