Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday he will start radiation therapy to treat his cancer in the coming weeks, a treatment that could leave him weakened ahead of his re-election bid on October 7.
Chavez spoke in a televised appearance from Cuba, where he is recovering from a third surgery to treat cancer in his pelvic region.
The recorded meeting with his cabinet ministers from his hospital in Havana appeared to be aimed at projecting an image that Chavez is fully in command of the government despite his illness.
He gave few new details about his condition.
"In the coming weeks we will start the already announced phase of radiotherapy," Chavez said wearing a windbreaker with the colors of the Venezuelan flag.
Chavez linked up via satellite with his vice president presiding over an event in Venezuela to inaugurate a chicken farm jointly owned by the government and an Argentinian company, and announced credits for the agricultural sector.
Cancer experts say the radiation treatment can take a heavy physical toll, but Chavez is eager to show he has the strength to run a campaign and rule for another six-year term after 13 years in power. He said he will be coming home soon.
"I must return in the next few days, God willing. This week, starting today, will not pass without my return to Caracas, Venezuela," Chavez said.
Chavez sang a military song and said he was reading a lot of books, quoting from a thick volume by Marxist philosopher Istvan Meszaros.