Caracas – Ailing President Hugo Chavez appeared cheerful here Thursday at an event to celebrate the bicentennial of Venezuelan independence, where he said that the socialist revolution he had led for 12 years is "eternal."
Dressed in a military uniform, Chavez made a brief televised speech in which he said that the cancer from which he is suffering had made him feel "a million times more love" for his people and for himself and he repeated that he is convinced he will win this "battle" against the often fatal disease.
Chavez returned to Venezuela on July 4 after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in Cuba, and since then he has adhered to a strict recovery plan, which he said on Wednesday has now entered a new phase during which it could be necessary for him to have radiation treatments and chemotherapy.
The Venezuelan leader swore that he will continue doing "everything that I may need to do" to win this "difficult" battle.
"I swear it a million times: I will live, we will live, for the fatherland, for life," he exclaimed.
"Our revolution that is now beginning the 21st century was born to transform itself into the eternal revolution, into the permanent revolution, into the perpetual revolution," he shouted.
Chavez pointed to the children and young people of the country as the "profound guarantee" of revolutionary continuity.
"In these days, I've been accompanying them to different locations, more in spirit, in my soul, than in body because of the reasons that you know," said Chavez, who recently admitted that he cannot keep up the pace of activities that he formerly maintained.
Chavez wrapped up the event by enthusiastically singing traditional folk music along with popular singer Cristobal Jimenez in a square packed with his followers.
The 56-year-old president complained of abdominal pain during an official visit to Cuba early last month, and emergency surgery to remove an abscess led to the discovery of cancer.
He has not disclosed exactly what kind of cancer he has.
Since he returned to Venezuela, Chavez has been making regular commentaries via Twitter and in television appearances, but he has not been appearing often at public events.