CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday he sees no need for further treatment for the cancer that struck him last year just weeks after he had said medical tests showed him in good health.
Although polls show Chavez comfortably ahead, any relapse in his undisclosed type of cancer could upend his October 7 re-election bid against opposition challenger Henrique Capriles.
“I’ve already done what I need to do,” Chavez said when asked if he planned to undergo any more cancer treatment. “At this moment, on the horizon that I can see ... I don’t expect any of that, all I expect is to fight and to triumph.”
Following months of virtual silence this year while he recovered from surgery and radiotherapy, Chavez has returned to his old self with long-winded speeches and extended live television appearances.
He had two operations last year for cancer in the pelvic region, but his actual condition remains a mystery.
A relapse this year required a third round of surgery and weeks of grueling radiotherapy that left him communicating largely via Twitter.
Rumors of his imminent demise have quietly faded in the OPEC nation, though many wonder if his illness could return.
He appeared healthy and energetic on Tuesday as he chatted with reporters, though his face was still swollen.
This month Chavez registered his candidacy with electoral authorities with a thundering speech that went on for nearly three hours, but at times he has appeared to have some difficulty walking.
Critics believe Chavez’s self-styled revolution, which has built up strong support among the poor thanks to generous spending of oil revenues, would struggle to survive without his charismatic leadership.
His supporters insist he is in a good condition to win the upcoming vote and continue governing.
Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; editing by Christopher Wilson