Chavez says his progress is favourable



Chavez says his progress is favourable Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his progress "is favourable" following his Feb 27 operation in Havana to remove a cancerous tumour and said he should return to his country "no later than this week".

Chavez said on a Venezuelan state television programme broadcast Sunday from Cuba that his latest physical exams "confirm and continue to confirm" his favourable medical progress and said that in the next few days he will begin radiation therapy.

"Next week we'll begin the phase, already announced, of radiation therapy," Chavez said, without stating whether he will be treated in Caracas or Havana.

Chavez arrived in Havana Feb 24 for surgery to extract a lesion and the "surrounding tissue" from his pelvic region. He disclosed last week that the lesion was cancerous.

The 57-year-old president had a larger, malignant tumour removed from the same region last year, but has never revealed the precise nature of the cancer. He underwent several rounds of chemotherapy after the initial surgery before announcing in October that he was cancer-free.

"With the grace of God, it should be no later than this week that I begin my physical return to Caracas, to Venezuela," Chavez said.

In his speech he read a medical report from the 13th day after his operation, which notes his "good general state of health" and that he continues "with no complication of any kind".

Chavez said that he continues on his "longest, most uphill march" but that in the short term he is headed straight for a "memorable" triumph in the "battle of Carabobo", as he calls the Oct 7 presidential elections after a famous victory won by Simon Bolivar in the Venezuelan War of Independence.

The leftist head of state, in power since 1999, hopes to be elected for another term in a race against the governor of the central state of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, the consensus candidate of Venezuela's long-divided opposition.

IANS