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29/07/2011 | Venezuela - Happy Birthday, presidente! Venezuela's Chavez at 57

AFP

"I am like the phoenix bird," declared Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering from having a cancerous tumor removed, as he turned 57 on Thursday.

 

"There have been birthdays and birthdays. This one (finds me) in full re-birth," Chavez said in a telephone call with state VTV television.

Chavez's surprise June 20 operation in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor sent shockwaves through the country, where the Venezuelan leader has been omnipresent since he first took office in 1999.

Yet despite the health setback and the chemotherapy treatment he must still undergo, Chavez insists he will run for another six-year term as president in 2012 elections.

With a healthy 50 percent approval rating, according to polls, Chavez could be easily swept back into office if he faces a fragmented opposition.

"I am like the phoenix bird. This is the return, a new life has been born for me," he told VTV. "I am happy. This is a sublime birthday, fed by the love of many people."

While Chavez was spending the day with close aides, supporters are set to hold several birthday street parties in Caracas.

The flamboyant leftist leader has provided no details about his cancer type, though officials have said that the tumor was removed from his pelvic area, and that recent tests have found no more cancer cells.

According to Chavez, his illness has taught him to live more carefully and learn to "delegate" more to his aides.

"A campaign (by political opponents) have placed me at the doors of death, but the truth is that I am undergoing a strong recovery of a difficult illness," he said.

"I invite you now to my 67th birthday in 2021," he added.

GoogleNews (Estados Unidos)

 


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