CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ended a week-long silence on Friday to say he was resting, following a diet and trying to tame his workaholic ways as he recovers from cancer treatment.
The usually garrulous and attention-seeking Chavez's disappearances from public view have become longer and more frequent this year. That has fueled speculation his condition has worsened and may complicate a re-election bid in October.
Allies in the ruling Socialist Party say the 57-year-old leader remains on top of government affairs and is not mulling a succession. Chavez said he was working less than before his illness, but still about eight hours a day.
"Unfortunately, I can't carry on being the wild horse I was. I will rest and get well again," he said during the roughly 90-minute phone call, speaking in a firm voice an d twice breaking into song.
"I didn't used to sleep, now I'm working as the law dictates - just eight hours a day, resting, following a diet," the former soldier said. "I've spent this week shut away here working ... I'll steadily be getting better."