Venezuela's Chavez declares himself free of cancer

By REUTERS
October 20, 2011 22:34

 
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LA GRITA, Venezuela - Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez declared himself cancer-free on Thursday, four months after surgery to remove a malignant tumor that shook the South American nation ahead of a 2012 presidential election.

"I am free of illness," Chavez, 57, said in an address to Venezuelans after touching down from Cuba in a western state to make a pilgrimage to a Catholic shrine.

"The new Chavez is back ... We will live!"

Despite the charismatic socialist president's ebullience, doctors say it is impossible for him to be considered out of danger until at least two years after treatment has finished.

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