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Chavez celebrates 11 years in power

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated 11 years in power on his 55th birthday and hopes to continue as head of state for another similar term.

world Updated: Feb 03, 2010 11:03 IST

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated 11 years in power on his 55th birthday and hopes to continue as head of state for another similar term.

"I like that number 11. And the next 11 (years) I promise to take care of myself a little more, and if you want, I'll be 66 (years old then) and god willing 22 (years) as president," he said on the occasion of his 55th birthday on Tuesday.

"But I don't want to think about the 11 years after that because that would be 77 years and 33 (as president) and that would be too much time," he said in a nationally broadcast speech.

He gave an overview of how his presidency had progressed so far; first for two years and then a complete six-year term with a new constitution in place and now in the middle of his third term in office.

"The true and only Christ is the redemptive socialism of this planet and it resurrected itself here," he said, adding it didn't matter to him if others said the opposite.

"I free myself from all personal ambition, despite what the scrawny (opposition members) say. Let them say what they want, I don't pay any attention. The eagle doesn't hunt flies," Chavez said.

The Venezuelan leader said his government has made good progress "in politics, economics, social works, education, health, employment and science and technology".

Alluding to the recent demonstrations staged by the opposition, Chavez urged his followers to confront them "on the streets".

"I call on them to take to the streets. The streets belong to the people and not to the oligarchy. They don't belong to the children of the sellout oligarchy," he said.