Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has declared himself to be free of cancer and affirmed that his physical condition will not impinge on the presidential campaign. The announcement came during the leader´s first press conference as a presidential candidate.
Chávez, who has been in power for more than ten years, has undergone three operations since last summer and only concluded radiotherapy five weeks ago.
Although the Venezuelan leader maintains that he feels better everyday, expectations have been slightly overshadowed by his history with the illness. The president gave the same triumphant statement in October of last year after removing a malignant tumor in his pelvic area— only to see the cancer reappear a few months later. As such, the news was quickly disseminated by the international press, but only appeared later on in local reports.
The health of government officials is treated as a state secret and speculation abounds. While Chávez declared himself to be in complete remission, no details were given as to the exact state of his health.
Chávez will face his opponent, Henrique Capriles, in presidential elections on 7th October.