CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ended a third round of chemotherapy yesterday, saying he “couldn’t feel better” as he led a caravan to the presidential palace cheered on by thousands of supporters.
Wearing a red beret and an olive green military uniform, Chavez stood up through the sunroof of a sport utility vehicle and waved to crowds lining the streets after he completed a cancer treatment session at a Caracas hospital.
“I’m very motivated, with my soul full of life and my body too,” the 57-year-old socialist leader said, adding, “I couldn’t feel better.”
Chavez checked into the Military Hospital on Saturday for his latest session of chemotherapy, instead of traveling to Cuba where he underwent two earlier rounds.
The decision to stay at home could be a sign the former soldier is growing more optimistic about the pace of his recovery before a presidential election next year.
It also undermined criticism by the opposition, which had accused him of putting national security at risk by governing from a hospital bed in Havana during his previous visits to the communist-led Caribbean island.
During his treatment in Caracas, Chavez sought to demonstrate he was fully involved in running the country. He often phoned state TV to comment on current affairs and update viewers about his routine.
Groups of Chavez supporters had held vigils outside the hospital, waving portraits of the former coup leader, singing songs and praying for his swift recovery.