Venezuela's Chavez Set For More Cuba Cancer Treatment

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has given a speech from the presidential palace in Caracas, the first since his latest round of treatment in Cuba for a malignant tumour.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has given a speech from the presidential palace in Caracas, the first since his latest round of treatment in Cuba for a malignant tumour.

Mr Chavez, who was more than two hours late, told thousands of supporters that he was "doing well".

But he also said he would return to Cuba on Saturday for more radiotherapy.

Mr Chavez said he did not know if he would be able to attend the Summit of the Americas in Colombia this weekend.

The president had returned to Caracas late on Wednesday after the third round of radiotherapy for a malignant tumour in his pelvic region.

At the time, the presidential office had announced Mr Chavez would have two more rounds of radiotherapy in Cuba, but he had been expected to do so after a brief visit to the Summit of the Americas in the Colombian port city of Cartagena.

Fighting talk

Colombian police said he had been scheduled to land in Cartagena on Friday at 14:25 local time (19:25 GMT), in order to attend the official summit dinner and a brief meeting on Saturday.

Instead, Mr Chavez gave a speech from the presidential palace in Caracas marking the 10th anniversary of his return to power after a failed coup.

Shouting "Viva Venezuela!", Mr Chavez stepped onto the balcony of the Miraflores Palace more than two hours after the scheduled time for the speech.

He told thousands of cheering supporters that while the radiotherapy had "had an impact" on his health, he was "doing well".

He then put his trip to the Americas Summit to a popular vote, asking his supporters for a show of hands as to how many of them thought he should be attending the meeting.

After an overwhelming vote for Mr Chavez to stay in Caracas, he broke into song and performed an impromptu dance with his daughter.

He later announced he would be returning to Cuba on Saturday and that he "didn't know whether he would go the Americas Summit".

Mr Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, has said that despite his health problems he is determined to win October's presidential election.