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Chavez: Illness won't stop re-election bid

By the CNN Wire Staff
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrives back at Caracas from Cuba on July 23, 2011 after chemotherapy treatment.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrives back at Caracas from Cuba on July 23, 2011 after chemotherapy treatment.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Chavez says illness gives him "a greater desire to live, to fight and to overcome"
  • The Venezuelan leader says he never considered pulling out of the presidential race
  • Chavez is undergoing treatment but has not said what type of cancer he has
  • He returned to Venezuela Saturday after about a week of treatment in Cuba
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Caracas, Venezuela (CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is pledging to run for re-election next year, dismissing speculation that cancer treatment would force him out of the political arena.

"I have not thought for even an instant of pulling out of the presidency," Chavez said in an article published Monday in the state-run Correo del Orinoco newspaper.

The article appeared two days after Chavez returned to Venezuela from Cuba, where he underwent chemotherapy for about a week.

Over the weekend, he told state-run VTV that doctors had not detected any malignant cells during a recent exam.

"Still the risk exists, and that's why I was given chemotherapy all week in several sessions," he said. "It was hard, but my soldier's body was able to withstand the small discomforts of this difficult treatment."

Chavez announced last month that doctors had removed a cancerous tumor from his body. The Venezuelan leader has not specified what type of cancer he has.

Monday's newspaper report said Chavez would undergo further chemotherapy.

"The lash of this illness has provoked within me a greater desire to live, to fight and to overcome," he told Correo del Orinoco.

Journalist Osmary Hernandez contributed to this report.