The President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez said he is cancer-free after a battery of medical tests in Cuba revealed no recurrence of the illness, following two months of chemotherapy.
Chavez, 57, told Venezuelans on live television after returning from Havana: I'm free of illness and there are no malignant cells active in this body.
He also told reporters: Everything went perfectly. I got top marks, 20 out of 20.”
The President spoke from the town of La Fria in southwestern Venezuela dressed in military fatigues.
The socialist president remains popular with much of the country’s rural poor and urban working-class.
Crowds of enthusiastic supporters had earlier cheered Chavez in the town of La Grita, east of La Fria.
The President’s cancer caused a big stir in Venezuela – both from supporters who were concerned about their leader’s health, and from opposition groups who demanded he step down due to his sickness.
Chavez was also criticized for not providing many details about his disease. He underwent surgery in Cuba in June to excise a cancerous tumor in his pelvic area; he subsequently went through at least four sessions of chemotherapy over the next three months. But it was never made clear what kind of cancer he was diagnosed with, nor where exactly the tumor was located.
Meanwhile, the question of succession would appear to be moot, since he has indicated he will run for re-election next October.
Dr. Javier Cebrian, chief of surgery at the University Hospital of Caracas, told The AP that while cancer patients require periodic check-ups, if the chemotherapy is effective, you don't have to do anything more with the patient.