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Chavez gives speech and sings after treatment

•, Agencies

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, has strode, sung and given a rousing speech in an apparent show of vigour after his latest cancer treatment in Cuba.

His actions came during an address to the nation on Friday, after he flew back from Havana where he has completed six rounds of radiation therapy.

Five months before presidential elections, the country has been awash with rumours that Chavez, who had only been seen live in public once in the previous month, was dying from his illness.

With Venezuelans watching on live TV for any sign of his condition, Chavez walked with relative ease from his plane, hugged ministers, inspected a military guard and improvised a song at the end of a 20-minute speech.

"I can tell you that in the last few days we successfully completed the radiation cycle, as planned by the medical team," Chavez said in a strong voice.

"I come with great optimism that this treatment will have the effects we hope for, always asking God to help us and give us the miracle of life to keep serving."

The official line in recent weeks has been that Chavez was out of the public limelight due to the effects of radiation treatment, but is on the road to recovery, and will soon begin his re-election campaign ahead of the October 7 vote.

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