Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he has fully recovered from cancer and is ready to mount an aggressive bid for re-election.
Chavez told reporters in Caracas Monday that he was "totally free" of the disease that was first discovered a year ago. The 57-year-old leader has undergone two surgeries to remove tumors from his pelvis, plus several radiation treatments in Cuba since his initial diagnosis, although the exact nature of his cancer has never been revealed. Chavez insists his treatments have not depleted his energy.
"Luckily, thank God, here I am. And I am feeling in better physical condition every day," he said. "And I believe, firmly, that what you [addressing the journalist] just called 'my physical limitations' won't play any role in this campaign."
Chavez will face Henrique Capriles, a former state governor, in the October 7 presidential vote. The president says he will increase his campaign appearances with several rallies around Venezuela later this week. If he wins, Chavez could likely serve until 2019, which will mark his 20th anniversary as president.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.