Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appeared on television Tuesday for the first time in 10 days, chatting with aides and relatives in an upbeat outdoor encounter that allowed him to show supporters he remains vigorous despite his cancer treatment in Cuba.
The video showed Chavez tossing a bocce ball in a game that Venezuelans call "bolas criollas." It was Chavez's first appearance in video since he traveled to Cuba on April 14 for his latest round of cancer treatment.
Chavez wore a track suit as he talked and laughed with his brother Adan and Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro in a garden in the edited video clip, which was recorded Monday. Chavez put an arm around one of his daughters and gave a high-five to his grandson.
"I feel very, very happy within this treatment process," Chavez said. "We continue in the treatment, facing the difficulties, governing, making decisions on policies."
Chavez held up a crucifix and kissed it, saying he has faith in God that his cancer treatments will be successful.
In a phone call aired on state television Monday, the president said he plans to be home Thursday. During the preceding week, he had communicated only through messages on Twitter and other written statements.
Chavez urged supporters not to pay attention to rumors about his health, saying: "To foolish words, deaf ears." He said the rumors in recent days had made his mother nervous, and he talked with her by phone to reassure her.
The Venezuelan leader began radiation treatment in Cuba in late March after undergoing an operation in February that removed a second tumor from his pelvic region. The first tumor was taken out last June, and he then underwent chemotherapy.
Chavez has kept secret some details of his illness, including the type of cancer and the precise location of the tumors. Continued...