Venezuelan President finishes 3rd round of chemo

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he felt great and playfully boxed for television cameras.

Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he felt great and playfully boxed for television cameras on Friday as he emerged from his third round of chemotherapy for cancer.

The 57-year-old President, who shaved his head after he started losing hair due to the treatments, did jumping jacks and sparred as he left the Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Venezuela`s capital.

Chavez told Venezuelan state television that during the week of treatment he had gained "more than a kilo" and now weighs 88½ kilograms (195 pounds). "At the end the chemotherapy is softer."

"Today we finished with the haemoglobin tests, white blood cells," said the Venezuelan President, who was wearing an olive green military uniform and his trademark red beret. He added that his condition "couldn`t be better”.

Hospital director Colonel Earle Siso said Chavez was released in "top condition not only in spirit but physically”.

Standing in the open sunroof of a sport-utility vehicle, Chavez waved to supporters as he led a caravan to the presidential palace.

In a televised speech to supporters at the palace, Chavez said "this third cycle (of chemotherapy) ended without problems”.

"We still don`t know if I will need a fourth round. We will see in the coming days," he said. "Every day I feel better."

Chavez underwent surgery in Cuba that removed a cancerous tumour from his pelvic region in June. He has not specified where the tumour was located but said the latest follow-up tests haven`t detected any sign of malignant cells in his body.

He returned twice to Cuba for his first two rounds of chemotherapy.

Bureau Report

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