HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 21 — President Hugo Chavez is back in Venezuela and announced Thursday that he is free of cancer, after undergoing a new round of tests in Havana.

“I am free of illness,” said the 57 year-old president in addressing the nation from the western state of Tachira where he visited a Catholic shrine to make good on a promise.

Chavez, who is Cuba’s top political ally and his country Havana’s leading trade partner, appeared ready for the next year of campaigning for reelection, which he said is all but in the bag.

The effects of four rounds of preventive chemotherapy have proved effective said Chavez who said no more malignant cells were found in his body.  He had a cancerous tumor removed in June, also in Havana.

Reporting from the Christ of La Grita shrine in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira, Reuters quoted Chavez as saying “It’s a miracle that I am with you here,” as he gave thanks for his health improvement.


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