Caracas, Feb 25 (IANS/EFE) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who left the country Friday to undergo a surgery in Cuba for a lesion has vowed to come back stronger after the operation.
“I’m going, but I will return and will return with more life than ever to continue giving my whole life to the good homeland, to the new homeland,” Chavez said at the Maiquetia International Airport before boarding the plane for Havana.
Surrounded by his three daughters, the entire cabinet and the military high command, the head of state bid farewell to thousands of people who followed his motorcade from the presidential palace to the airport.
“I promise you I will totally dedicate myself entirely, in body, in soul, in spirit, in supreme will to wage this new battle,” he said.
The president said he suspected some of his opponents in Venezuela were “thinking that Chavez is finished”.
“Chavez is not finished and what’s more, I should tell you that when this body really ends, Chavez will not end because Chavez is no longer me, Chavez is in the streets and becomes the people and becomes the national essence,” he said.
Chavez, who has never provided details on the precise nature of the tumour removed last year, underwent several rounds of chemotherapy after the initial surgery. He announced in October that he was cancer-free.
The former army colonel who took office in 1999 will face Henrique Capriles, backed by a coalition of opposition parties, in the presidential election in October.