Venezuela’s Chavez will run for re-election in 2012

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo  Chavez will seek another six-year term in an election next year  despite recent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, he told a  state newspaper in an interview published late yesterday.
News that the 56-year-old socialist leader underwent an  operation last month in Havana to remove a baseball-sized tumor  has called into question his long-term health and his fitness  to continue governing the OPEC nation of 29 million people.
“I have medical reasons, scientific reasons, human reasons,  reasons of love and political reasons to keep myself at the  front of the government and the candidacy with more force than  before,” Chavez told the Correo del Orinoco newspaper.
“On a personal level, I tell you I have never thought for  even an instant of retiring from the presidency.”
Chavez returned to South America’s biggest oil exporter on  Saturday a week after leaving for chemotherapy in Cuba, saying  no malignant cells had been found and that he was arriving home  in better health than when he left.
“They checked organ by organ, taking tests to see if there  had been metastasis, and they didn’t find anything. The tumor  was encapsulated,” he told the newspaper, which splashed  “Chavez to be candidate in 2012” across its front page.
A former soldier whose workaholic leadership style and  folksy charisma have helped him win numerous votes, Chavez is  visibly weakened as he plans his re-election campaign for a  poll scheduled to be held in December 2012.
During a tumultuous 12 years in power, he has become one of  the world’s most polarizing and recognizable leaders,  frequently lambasting the United States while nationalizing  large parts of his country’s economy.

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