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Chavez to Return Home in ‘Coming Days,’ Planning for Campaign

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez plans to return to his country from Cuba in the “coming days” and said he’ll soon be on the “front lines” of his effort to extend his 13-year rule in an October election.

“I’ll emerge from this special situation in the following days,” said Chavez, who spoke on state television last night via telephone. “The campaign starts in July, August, September, and I’m going to work very hard.”

Chavez, who is undergoing treatment for an undisclosed cancer, said his goal is to win the October election with 70 percent of the vote even as he faces speculation his illness is worse than what he has disclosed. Since June, he has undergone three operations and several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment in Cuba.

Chavez, 57, said he continues on the communist island to receive radiation therapy, physical therapy and to rest.

Last week, Chavez created a Council of State to advise on key issues as his battle with cancer restricts his ability to govern.

Before departing April 30 on his sixth trip to Cuba this year for radiation therapy, Chavez said the council’s first task would be to study whether Venezuela should exit the Organization of American States’ human rights commission, which he accused of bias against his government.

Vice President Elias Jaua, who heads the council, said the constitution established it as a consulting body and denied speculation that it is a transitional body, according to a government statement sent by e-mail yesterday.

New Members

Today, the pro-Chavez National Assembly plans to name new members to the Council of State designated in a presidential decree, a representative selected by the National Assembly and another by the Supreme Court.

Venezuelan state governors yesterday nominated Vargas Governor Jorge Garcia Carneiro, who is a general, to join the council, state-run Agencia Venezolana de Noticias reported.

Chavez also said last night that Venezuela’s opposition was working to promote unrest before the coming election.

“We should work to neutralize all the destabilization plans that seek to ruin the peace in the country,” Chavez said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Corina Pons in Caracas at crpons@bloomberg.net; Jose Orozco in Caracas at jorozco8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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