Chavez turns to Christ

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iol pic wld Cuba Chavez AP Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, kisses a crucifix beside his daughter Rosa in Havana, Cuba.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in a video aired on Tuesday that he believes Jesus Christ will ensure the radiation therapy he is receiving for cancer in Havana makes him healed and whole.

“It's like a pact with Christ, who didn't die, he rose again. He certainly will intervene to make this treatment I am rigorously following a supreme success... and so I can continue redoubling my effort looking toward the future,” Chavez said in a nearly 15-minute recording that was broadcast on all Venezuelan television and radio networks.

Chavez was diagnosed with cancer last June.

Dressed in casual athletic wear, the video shows Chavez in a garden playing a traditional Venezuelan ball game with his brother, Adan Chavez, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Minister of Science and Technology Jorge Arreaza.

Monday night, the Venezuelan government released photos of the political officials together after Chavez spoke by telephone with state television channel VTV.

It was Chavez's first interview with the state media after nine days in Havana. He said he planned to return to Venezuela on Thursday.

In the video, Chavez said he forgave people who spread rumours claiming that his health was deteriorating.

He also said he had “great faith” in the treatment he is receiving in Cuba.

He received his second cancer surgery February 26 after a recurrence in the same area of his pelvis where it was first detected in June 2011.

“For those who feed rumours and have bad intentions toward me, I forgive them, but I have great faith in this hard work we are doing against the disease that ambushed me last year and I have great faith in Christ... to continue living more and more each day,” Chavez said as he held a crucifix.

Chavez also said he was “very, very happy” with the treatment he is following, although he acknowledged Monday that it is “hard.”

Elsewhere in the video, Chavez talks to his daughter, Rosa, and one of his grandchildren, while announcing that he will meet with Foreign Minister Maduro to discuss a labor bill and other issues.

Until Tuesday, Chavez had communicated only through his Twitter account, which he used to follow government actions and to make announcements.

On Sunday, Chavez's silence sparked a wave of rumours about his health in Venezuela and on social networks.

The 57-year-old Chavez, who continues to run for a third six-year term in the October 7 election, never has publicly revealed the kind of cancer he suffers or its exact location on his body.

He is running as a “revolutionary” socialist against centre-left opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, governor of the state of Miranda. - Sapa-AFP


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