Chavez Denies Death Rumors

He breaks silence after 9 days of cancer treatment in Cuba
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2012 12:08 AM CDT
Chavez Denies Death Rumors
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks to supporters from Miraflores presidential palace on April 13, the day before he flew to Cuba.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Hugo Chavez, complaining that rumors of his death had become so widespread that he had to reassure his own mother that he hadn't died, has broken a 9-day silence to let Venezuelans know he's still alive and kicking. He spoke to state television from Havana, where he has been undergoing radiation treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer since April 14, the BBC reports. The treatment is progressing, but it is "hard, and one had to go into it with much willpower and determination," he said.

Chavez had tweeted more than 30 times since arriving in Cuba, but some of the more skeptical Venezuelans believed the tweets had been written by somebody else. Chavez said he would return to Venezuela for a few days this week before returning to Cuba for more treatment. Chavez is seeking re-election for another 6-year term this October, but analysts believe that his exertions to prolong his political life are likely to end up shortening his physical one, the Financial Times notes. (More Hugo Chavez stories.)

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