Daily Israel Report

Ailing Venezuela President Chavez Claims Health is 'Improving'

Ailing Venezuela President Hugo Chavez told Cubans this week he could "speak for five hours" -- but spent only 20 minutes on television.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 8/17/2011, 11:14 AM

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez says his health is “improving” as he continues chemotherapy treatment in Cuba for cancer.

“I could stand here talking for five hours,” Chavez claimed this week in an appearance on national television that lasted about 20 minutes.

Chavez was referring to the length of his past speeches, which were known to run five hours or longer. Since he began treatment for cancer, however, the Venezuelan strongman has sharply curtailed the length of his public addresses, which he has attributed to doctors' orders.

The 57-year-old leader disappeared from the cameras following surgery to remove a malignant tumor on June 10, but reappeared to celebrate his birthday last month and vowed to run for re-election. Political analysts speculated the prostate cancer may have spread despite the operation.

Chavez, who has dominated Venezuela sinced 1999, was responsible for the country's increasingly warm ties with Iran. He also severed all diplomatic ties with Israel following the Jewish State's three-week counter terror mini-war, Operation Cast Lead, against the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009.