Lifestyle & Belief

Hugo Chavez says he's cancer free


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gestures at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on October 1, 2011.



Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that he is cancer-free, CNN reports.

"There are no malignant cells in this body. They don't exist," Chavez said.

According to CNN, Chavez spent five days in Cuba this week for medical tests. Four months ago, he underwent emergency surgery in Cuba after the cancer was discovered.

"In these four months that have passed, we can say that a vital stage has concluded in the treatment of the illness that surprised me," Chavez said.

Chavez has not said what kind of cancer he was diagnosed with. Recent pictures of the Venezuelan leader show that chemotherapy has caused his hair to fall out.

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The Associated Press reports that Chavez made the comments in the southwestern town of La Grita, where crowds cheered and "[r]ed-clad supporters filled a square in the town and waved excitedly to the president."

According to Reuters, Chavez still plans to run for reelection in October 2012, and says he will win.

"It will be easier for a donkey to pass through the eye of a needle than for the opposition to win the elections," Chavez said Thursday.

A U.S.-based cancer expert who asked not to be named told Reuters that "[n]o matter what kind of cancer he was treated for, it's just too early to tell" if Chavez is out of danger.