Venezuela’s Chavez dismisses death rumors in interview
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he will return home this week after receiving another round of radiation therapy for cancer in Cuba, dispelling rumors that he is critically ill.
“I should be there in Caracas, God willing, on April 26,” Chavez told state television VTV on Monday in a phone call interview after a reported 9-day silence.
“It seems we will have to become accustomed to live with these rumors, because it is part of the laboratories of psychological war, of dirty war,” he added.
Chavez left for Cuba on April 14 for what he reported as a final round of radiation treatment and has since been absent from state media and only communicated via Twitter and written statements.
“Some people would like to see me leave here sprinting … not yet, let me recover. I have to rest and look after my diet, the treatment and the hours I keep,” Chavez said.
He complained that radiation has taken a physical toll on him, saying, “The treatment is going well, but it’s very hard and you need to have a lot of willpower and strength.”
The 57-year-old leader also said he would need to return to Cuba for another round of radiation and tests.
In late February, Chavez had surgery in Havana after the recurrence of the cancer he was originally diagnosed with last year.
He began the treatment in Cuba following a tumor removal in late March 2011.
Doctors in Cuba have operated on President Chavez twice to remove the cancerous tumors but he has not specified the type of cancer.
Chavez insists that he will overcome the cancer and win re-election in October. His rivals, however, claim that he is not fit to govern the country because his health is deteriorating.