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Chavez appears on state television with shaved head

By the CNN Wire Staff
Chavez told viewers that his shaved head is a sign that his cancer treatment is working.
Chavez told viewers that his shaved head is a sign that his cancer treatment is working.
  • NEW: Chavez reiterates his support for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi
  • The Venezuelan president says his "new look" is a good sign
  • He said in June that doctors had removed a tumor
  • Chavez mocks critics for speculating about his health

(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appeared on state television with a shaved head Monday, telling viewers it is a sign that his cancer treatment is working.

He referred to it as his "new look," using an English fashion phrase to describe his appearance.

"Chemotherapy attacks the whole body, and the act of hair falling out is normal, and it also shows that the treatment is effective," he said.

Chavez said his cancer treatment is going well and he is "advancing optimally."

In June, Chavez announced that doctors had removed a cancerous tumor from his body, but the Venezuelan leader has not specified what type of cancer. He traveled to Cuba last month for about a week of chemotherapy.

Chavez was jovial as he spoke to members of his Cabinet for more than an hour after swearing in several new government ministers. He mocked critics for widespread speculation about his illness.

"They keep speculating without any scientific basis," he said.

Chavez also reiterated his support for Moammar Gadhafi, reading a letter he recently received from the embattled Libyan leader.

In the letter, Gadhafi said he was praying for Chavez's health and decried what he called a global conspiracy against Libya.

Chavez and Gadhafi have a close relationship, having bonded partly over shared opposition to the United States' global influence. In 2009, a new football stadium in Libya was named after Chavez.

The Venezuelan leader has spoken out numerous times since unrest erupted in Libya, accusing the United States and other countries of blowing the situation out of proportion to justify an invasion.

On Monday, Chavez applauded with his Cabinet ministers as they chanted, "Long live Moammar Gadhafi."

"Brother, we are with you and we are with Libya," he said, saluting toward the camera.