Venezuela's Chavez makes 2nd public appearance after return

14:02, July 08, 2011      

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Thursday attended a graduation ceremony at a military academy, in his second public appearance after returning on July 4 from a cancer-treatment trip in Cuba.

"I am not going to show you my abdomen, but if you saw it you would see a lot of stitches," Chavez told 550 graduates of the Bolivarian-Technical Military Academy at the ceremony here.

The 56-year-old Venezuelan leader spent most of June in Cuba, where he underwent surgery on June 10 to remove a pelvic abscess. That operation was followed by a second round of surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.

Dressed in a sports outfit and looking healthy, Chavez called on those graduates to serve their country in a short speech broadcast live across Venezuela.

"I invite you to continue your journey as you are the new liberators of the fatherland," he said.

The South American nation just celebrated its 200th independence anniversary earlier this week. The country announced its independence on July 5, 1811.

Chavez said Venezuela's battle for independence lasted ten years, while the celebration marked another decade to rebuild the nation following his government's 10-year national reconstruction plan.

Source: Xinhua
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