Caracas (Venezuela): Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez has appeared at a televised meeting with his head
shaved as he undergoes cancer treatment.
Chavez says he decided to shave his head because his
hair had begun to fall out as a result of chemotherapy.
The Venezuelan leader had a tumour removed in an
operation in Cuba in June, and he underwent an initial round
of chemotherapy last month to prevent malignant cells from
reappearing. Chavez has joked that with his shaved head he may
soon start to look like the late actor Yul Brynner.
Chavez kissed the Venezuelan flag as he presided over
a swearing-in ceremony for new Cabinet ministers today.
Chavez has said the tumour was removed from his pelvic
Chavez slams Libya rebel `terrorists`
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
slammed Libyan rebels as "terrorists" and called on other
countries to cut ties with the opposition council opposing
Muammar Gaddafi`s regime.
"Not only do we refuse to recognize the pantomime that
is the Transitional (National) Council... We say that European
and other countries have recognized a group of terrorists...
and given them legitimacy," he said.
He went on to say during a widely broadcast meeting
with ministers that such recognition "destroys the foundation
of international law" because it would pave the way for the
elevation of other opposition groups.
"It`s very dangerous, and it could happen to all kinds
of presidents. Tomorrow it could be any of us... This cannot
Chavez then read from a letter sent to him by Gaddafi
in which the Libyan leader praised Venezuela for its support
and expressed hope that the international community would turn
on the rebels.
On July 15 Western and regional powers designated the
Benghazi-based NTC as the country`s legitimate rulers, a move
that gives them access to vital funds.
The United States, which in June declared the NTC "the
legitimate interlocutor" of the Libyan people, said Venezuela
should join the international community in pressing Gaddafi to
“I would hope (Chavez) urged Gaddafi to step down and
allow a democratic transition to take place," US State
Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington.
An envoy from Gaddafi`s increasingly isolated
government arrived in Venezuela late Sunday, but Chavez said
due to medical reasons he would not be able to meet with him.
Chavez, 57, is undergoing chemotherapy after a June 20
operation in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor and has
drastically limited his public appearances.
The firebrand socialist -- Gaddafi`s main supporter in
Latin America -- has consistently denounced the months-long
military operation in Libya, claiming it is an oil grab by
Chavez in 2004 was awarded the Al-Gaddafi
International Prize for Human Rights, a prize granted by the
Libyan leader. Cuba`s Fidel Castro and Nicaragua`s Daniel
Ortega have also won the award.