President Hugo Chavez Campaign After Cancer Fight

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated his 58th?birthday at a re-election campaign rally, appearing vigorous?after declaring himself free of cancer?earlier this month.
Chavez rode atop a truck and waved to the crowds of his supporters in the Caracas slum of Petare. Chavez hugged and kissed two of his daughters on a stage while he sang and danced alongside a band. His supporters sang “Happy Birthday.”

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“I want to thank everybody for the messages I have been getting. Well, I have made it to 58,” Chavez told reporters, adding that Cuban President Raul Castro had called him and that he had also heard from his allies in Bolivia and Nicaragua.
Chavez said earlier this month that he is free of the cancer that forced him into months of treatments and caused speculation about whether he would be able to campaign.

Opposition?candidate HenriqueCaprilesspokeat?an?eventeast of Caracas?in Guarenas,?where he swore?in?supporters who?will?monitor pollingstations during the October?7 vote.?He said Chavez’s government has wasted money while schools and roads remain in bad shape. Capriles noted that one Caracas hospital has been in construction for years and called it a “monument to corruption.”
Capriles also pointed to blackouts, double-digit inflation and seizures of private companies that he said have cost jobs. “He doesn’t have anything new to offer,”? Capriles said of the president, who has been in office since 1999 and is seeking another six-year term. Over good one year, Chavez has undergone two surgical operations?that removed?tumours?from his pelvic region.
The socialist leader has not disclosed major details about his illness, including the type of cancer that had been diagnosed.
Chavez has stepped up his public appearances in recent weeks, but he has led fewer rallies than Capriles, who has been campaigning energetically.
FRANCIS TAWIAH (Duisburg – Germany)
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