President Hugo Chavez made his first public appearance since returning to Venezuela May 11 after completing cancer treatment in Cuba.
Venezuela's head of state chaired a two-hour Cabinet meeting that was broadcast on live television and radio Tuesday, and he appeared to be in high spirits, according to Fox News. The broadcast followed the format of Chavez's television show "Alo Presidente" and featured remote feeds from officials in other parts of the country and footage of ongoing government projects.
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During the meeting, Chavez announced that he will formally sign up as a presidential candidate as required early next month, reported Bloomberg BusinessWeek. He even suggested his opponent, state governor Henrique Capriles, isn't at his level.
"The defeat we're going to give him is without precedent. It's as if Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) were to go out to box with Navarro or with me," Chavez said, referring to Hector Navarro, his government's electricity minister.
Chavez's numerous supporters celebrated his return, but every time he disappears from the public eye, the opposition stirs up suspicion about his health, according to Bernama. During a nine-day absence in April while Chavez was in Havana for cancer treatment, he managed only to tweet one message to followers. Capriles accused the president of "governing via Twitter."