'Cancer-free' Chávez hits road to campaign for re-election


Hailing his rebound from cancer as a “miracle” and firing up his supporters with spiritual rhetoric, Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, has hit the road to campaign for re-election in October.

The socialist leader began a series of campaign rallies in the eastern city of Barcelona, seeking to show his health is fine and to capitalise on the emotional connection with Venezuela’s poor that has underpinned his rule.

“I’m in the street again, thank God, after everything that’s happened in the last year. It’s a miracle!” he roared to tens of thousands of supporters in the first of a series of planned appearances round the nation.

Though Mr Chávez has said he is completely cured of cancer after three operations in Cuba over the last year to remove two malignant tumours in the pelvic area, doubts persist. Doctors say it is impossible to be declared cancer-free until two years have passed with no recurrence. And while Mr Chávez is enjoying a surge of energy, he is nowhere near his hands-on style of street politics where he would dive into crowds, and endlessly hug mothers and children. – (Reuters)