CARACAS - Feisty Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez acknowledged o n F riday that radiation treatment for cancer was wearing him down, but he vowed to squash his opponents in October's presidential election.

Ramping up the political rhetoric at a huge rally to mark the 10th anniversary of his return to power after a brief coup, Chavez said three sessions of radiation therapy in Cuba had taken their toll.

But he was more combative than usual, vowing to win the Oct. 7 "by a knock-out," repeatedly denouncing his opponents as upper-class "bourgeoisie losers," and launching a new anti-coup force that would prevent any repeat of the events of 2002.

"I continue to recover from the surgery. The radiation has an impact on my body, it has some impact on my physical strength, but I am doing well. We will be alright, thank God," he told tens of thousands of supporters clad in red T-shirts in honor of his ruling Socialist Party.

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