Photo: Chavez has cancer
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke last week’s silence to say that “unfortunately” he will no longer be that “runaway” horse that never slept, and that he now works just eight hours a day and sometimes less.
“I have to accept it and here I am accepting it and I confess it to the country: unfortunately I will not continue to be that sometimes runaway horse out there,” Chavez told state-run VTV television, a reference to the repose doctors have ordered him to observe and which he said kept him shut away all week.
The president said he continues to recover from the last cycle of radiation therapy and that he is currently working eight hours or less per day and that he is resting and following a diet, doctors’ recommendations that he is “strictly” following.
Chavez underwent radiation therapy after having a cancerous tumor removed in February, the reoccurrence of a cancer he suffered almost a year ago.
“I spent this week shut away here, working but strictly following medical orders in order to recover as quickly as possible from the normal effects of the radiation therapy, and I’m gradually getting better,” he said.
He repeated that he has asked God to give him “the strength of a buffalo rather than that of a horse” to sustain his health and “get well once and for all.”
In the interview, the president expressed his satisfaction at this weeks announcement that the economy grew at a 5.6 percent clip in the first quarter.
At less than five months from Venezuela’s presidential election, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles seems to be slipping in the polls and now trails Chavez by a significant margin.
Analysts say that the reasons for Capriles’ lackluster showing in the polls include a campaign that has not yet had a massive presence and the fact that voters are more focused on Chavez’s health issues.
Nonetheless, the same analysts say that the opposition candidate still has time in the remaining 4 1/2 months to attain enough voter preference to win the election, though he will have to climb a minimum of 17 percentage points to overtake Chavez.