Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sang, danced with his daughter and vowed on Saturday to win a presidential election this year, a day after returning from what he said was a successful operation to remove a second tumor.
“The beating we’re going to give the Venezuelan right will be memorable … not just in the history of Venezuela but in almost all the world,” he told thousands of red-clad, ecstatic supporters gathered outside the presidential palace.
The 57-year-old socialist leader flew home on Friday after cancer surgery in Cuba, his third operation in less than a year.
His return after a three-week absence thrilled his fans and should quell rumors of his top aides wrestling for power behind the scenes – at least for now.
But so little is known about his health – even what type of cancer he is suffering from has not been revealed – that big doubts remain over whether the normally energetic Chavez will be able to campaign ahead of the October 7 vote.
So Venezuelans have been glued to the images of him since his return. He appeared sure-footed at the airport on Friday, and there were few clues to his condition other than an occasional quiver in his voice during a 30-minute speech after he landed.
Film of him leaving Havana earlier that day showed him quickly climbing the steps to his plane, unaided, after bidding farewell to Cuban leader Raul Castro.
Chavez said on Saturday he will undergo radiation therapy in the coming days, but it is unclear whether that will take place in Caracas or back in Havana.