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Chavez plans return

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaking during a TV programme in Havana on Sunday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaking during a TV programme in Havana on Sunday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering in Cuba from his second cancer surgery, said he was in “good general health” and planned to return to Venezuela this week.

My vital signs and general health are good

“My vital signs and general health are good,” the Venezuelan leader said during a meeting with some of his Cabinet ministers in Havana, which was videotaped and broadcast by Venezuelan television.

“Thank God, there has not been any complication,” he added. “The scar is healing well.”

Mr Chavez, 57, who is facing a tough re-election in an October 7 vote, underwent surgery in Havana two weeks ago to remove a cancerous tumour around the pelvis, the same area where a first tumour was extracted in June 2011.

He acknowledged last week that he would need a new round of chemotherapy to treat his condition.

Mr Chavez said he was feeling optimistic about his prospects.

“I am in recovery,” he said. “I take walks, trying to increase the pace little by little. Additional studies that have take place have confirmed my positive clinical evolution.”

The President, who looked active and energetic, said he expected to return to Caracas “no later than this week.”

Mr Chavez said his new radiation treatment will begin “in coming weeks,” but did not offer a specific date.

Latin America’s highest-profile leftist leader faces a strong challenge in October from 39-year-old Henrique Capriles, who was chosen as the sole candidate to run against him by a unified opposition, and who could be further strengthened by the president’s medical problems.

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