Hugo Chavez back on television in Venezuela

AP News
Posted: May 22, 2012 10:53 PM
Hugo Chavez back on television in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reappeared on television Tuesday a week and a half after returning from cancer treatment in Cuba.

Chavez led a televised Cabinet meeting, seated at a table with aides. He spoke for more than two hours and expressed optimism about his re-election bid in the Oct. 7 presidential election.

Chavez said he plans to formally sign up as a candidate as required early next month, and he suggested his opponent, state governor Henrique Capriles, isn't at his level.

"The defeat we're going to give him is without precedent," Chavez said, likening it to a lopsided boxing match.

"It's as if Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) were to go out to box with Navarro or with me," Chavez said, referring to Hector Navarro, his government's electricity minister.

Chavez returned from Cuba on May 11 after cancer treatment, saying his latest round of radiation therapy was successful. His appearance on television Tuesday was his first since his arrival.

He didn't offer details about his health but said he soon hopes to be able to go out in Caracas to inspect some of the public housing being built by his government.

Chavez has undergone cancer treatments since last June, when he said a tumor was surgically removed from his pelvic region. A second tumor was removed in another surgery in February.

Chavez has kept some details of his illness a secret, including the type of cancer and the precise location of the tumors.