BLOOMBERG: Chavez Tells Supporters He'll Defeat Cancer
Chavez Tells Supporters He'll Defeat Cancer
By Charlie Devereux and Corina Rodriguez Pons - Jul 4, 2011
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez told supporters that he will win his battle against cancer, saying "we have started to beat the evil incubated in my body."
In his first public appearance since undergoing surgery to remove a tumor in Cuba on June 20, Chavez said he will be under strict medical control for some time. Chavez had initial surgery on June 10 to remove a pelvic abscess.
Speaking from "the people's balcony" at the presidential palace in Caracas, Chavez told followers that he was in intensive therapy for four days following the second operation. "It's a miracle I am here considering how I was," he said.
Chavez returned from Cuba early this morning after being seen off by Cuba's President Raul Castro in Havana. Government officials lacking Chavez's clout with Venezuela's poor have struggled to fill the void left by the convalescing leader, who arrived to Cuba on June 9. His return is 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."
Venezuela tomorrow celebrates its 200th anniversary of independence from Spain.
Caracas-based newspaper El Mundo reported yesterday that Chavez may name Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro to replace Vice President Elias Jaua, 41, before flying back to Havana to continue his cancer treatment. Henry Rangel Silva, the head of the military, may take over as Defense Minister, the newspaper said, citing government officials it did not name.
Maduro and Silva both traveled to Cuba last week for a meeting with Chavez as the government tried to burnish an image of normalcy amid the political crisis.
"Maduro was one of the few top government officials that along with the Castro brothers was really informed about what was going on with Chavez's state of health," Moya-Ocampos said. "Jaua is seen as young and a bit inexperienced to deal with a crisis of this magnitude."
Chavez was met on his return at 2 a.m. local time by his brother Adan Chavez, Jaua and several other members of his Cabinet. Jaua said Chavez had spent the morning being briefed by ministers and that he was showing a strong will to recover. He added later that Chavez will receive treatment at the presidential palace and doesn't need to go to the hospital.
To contact the reporters on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at cdevereux3@...; Corina Pons in Caracas at crpons@...
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@...