Chavez addresses jubilant audience
Published 06/07/2011 | 05:00
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated his nation's 200th anniversary of independence yesterday after a triumphant return from cancer surgery in Cuba that has left him weakened but defiant.
"Here I am, in recovery, but still recovering," the 56-year-old declared in a speech from his palace in Caracas as ministers and generals led ceremonies outside to mark the bicentennial of the end to Spanish colonial rule.
The socialist leader had a cancerous tumour removed and it is unclear whether malignant cells have spread. He needs "strict" medical treatment but vowed to win his health battle.
After an emotional homecoming speech to supporters on the balcony of his palace late on Monday, Mr Chavez swapped military uniform for presidential regalia to give another short address yesterday.
"We have recovered our independence," said Mr Chavez. Critics argue that his autocracy has decimated Venezuela's proud democratic tradition. (© Daily Telegraph, London)