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Recovering after cancer surgery, Chavez calls for speeding socialist transition in Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) ' Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez promised on Tuesday to accelerate his drive for socialism in Venezuela as he recovers from surgery that removed a cancerous tumor.
Chavez's add to indications that the president expects to bounce back from his June 20 surgery in Cuba. He has also been shown in recent days doing stretching exercises, leading a Cabinet meeting and addressing troops.
"The opposition and the counterrevolution are crying out that Chavez is done for, that he's dying... that he'll have to hand over, that the transition is coming," Chavez said on state television, speaking in a phone call to a ceremony at a state-run university.
"Well, I'm going to tell you, with the grace of God and the will that we have, we're going to rise above all of this," Chavez added. "The only transition that's under way and that we have to accelerate and consolidate is the transition from the capitalist model ... to the socialist model."
Chavez has said he underwent surgery in Cuba to remove a tumor from his pelvic region. Chavez hasn't said what type of cancer is involved.
Since his return to Caracas on July 4, the 56-year-old president has slowed his normally heavy agenda and has limited the length of his televised speeches, saying he is under strict orders from his doctors.
Chavez excused himself after a phone call of about 15 minutes, saying it was time to have a snack, followed by "physical rehabilitation and ... treatment."