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Latino Daily News

Sunday June 10, 2012

Chavez Denies Heath Rumors, Says Medical Tests Are All Good

Chavez Denies Heath Rumors, Says Medical Tests Are All Good

Photo: Hugo Chavez

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President Hugo Chavez, who is running for reelection and was operated on a year ago Sunday in Havana for a pelvic abscess, said that his most recent medical exams came out “absolutely fine.”

“In the last few days, here, in Venezuela, I did the computerized axial tomography (test), I did the magnetic resonance (test) and I don’t know what (else) ... and it all came out absolutely fine after the operation and the radiation therapy,” Chavez told reporters at the Miraflores presidential palace on Saturday.

“I feel very good,” the 57-year-old president said.

Chavez underwent surgery on June 10, 2011, initially for a pelvic abscess in Cuba, the first of three occasions when he was operated on for a cancerous tumor and from which he is still recovering. The government has said only that the cancer was located in the pelvic area.

Chavez made his remarks with four months left to go before the presidential election. According to the latest polls, he is out in front in the voter opinion surveys despite the fact that concerns about his health have been dominating the news, along with his trips to Cuba for chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

It has been almost a year since Chavez, in a brief speech last June 30 from Cuba, announced to his countrymen that he was suffering from cancer.

The uncertainty that prevailed after that announcement and the wave of rumors concerning his health - however - apparently have not affected his hopes of being reelected and the hopes of his supporters for his recovery, and in fact recent voter surveys indicate that Chavez is leading his opposition rival Henrique Capriles by a margin that has been oscillating between 5 and 30 percentage points.

Over the past 12 months, Chavez’s cancer has not given him much of a break. In late February, he announced that doctors had detected a recurrence of the cancer that in October he had said had been completely cured, and he then began radiation therapy.

During this time, Chavez has turned to the religious sector seeking help and strength to battle the disease from saints, shamans and other religious figures, and a number of indigenous, African and Catholic ceremonies have been held to support him in his requests for good health.

Certain things have changed in Venezuela during the course of the past year. For instance, the government has eliminated the word “death” from the propaganda slogan “Fatherland, socialism or death,” replacing the slogan with “Independence and socialist fatherland. We will live and we will overcome.”

Catholic Masses and other Christian ceremonies have been held for his recovery, not only in Venezuela but in other nations such as Cuba, the United States and the Dominican Republic.

Chavez’s appearances before the media, which before his illness has been quite frequent, were substantially reduced in number this past year but in the meantime he has often turned to the Twitter social network - where he has 3 million followers - to communicate upbeat messages to the public.

In recent weeks, the president has presided at two large meetings of the Council of Ministers on television, the most recent one lasting four hours, and he has continued to telephone in to the press conferences held by the leaders of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV.

On Monday, Chavez will officially announce his candidacy for president for the Oct. 7 election, a day after Capriles.

“Let Caracas overflow, it’s going to be a day of celebration. It’s the candidacy of the fatherland,” he said.