CARACAS, Venezuela – After months of trips back and forth from Cuba for radiation treatment, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez assured his country that he's completely free of cancer and that physical limitations stemming from his recuperation will not affect his re-election campaign.
Speaking at a news conference, Chávez said he's "totally free" of cancer and plans to begin actively campaigning soon following months of radiation treatment, physical rehabilitation and medical exams.
"I feel in better physical condition every day," he said.
Over the past 13 months, Chávez has undergone two surgeries that removed tumors from his pelvic region, most recently in February.
The socialist leader has not disclosed key details about his illness including the type of cancer that had been diagnosed.
Following his cancer treatment, Chávez has appeared in public less frequently, preferring to address Venezuelans during marathon speeches broadcast on television and radio.
Some had questioned the Venezuelan leader's ability to compete in the Oct. 7 election and rumors had circulated that he would name a successor.
Chávez called on his supporters to prepare for "an offensive" when he plans to start attending campaign rallies.
The feisty Venezuelan leader announced last June that an abscessed tumor with cancerous cells had been removed from his body earlier in the month, ending speculation as to why he had spent so much time in Cuba.
Since then, Chávez has travelled back and forth from Cuba to continue cancer treatments. He declared last July that he was free of cancer.
His main opponent in this year's presidential election, Henrique Capriles, has used Chávez's health to cast doubt on his ability to rule the country.