Chavez Denies Report about Deteriorating Health

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke on state television Thursday to deny a US media report stating that the leader was rushed to a hospital earlier in the week.

Chavez contacted state television Thursday by phone to assure the people of Venezuela he is OK and recovering from cancer treatments. The socialist leader did not specify where he was calling from.

"I'm fine, here having my first coffee of the day," Chavez, 57, said on the phone with state TV. "Those who don't love me and want me ill, well bad luck!"

El Nuevo Herald, a Miami-based Spanish newspaper, reported Wednesday that a credible source told the paper that Chavez was rushed to a hospital Tuesday due to kidney failure linked to cancer treatment.

Chavez also said that if the rumors were true that he would have been the first person to notify his country of any serious health issues he may be facing.

Chavez announced in June he had a cancerous tumor removed earlier in the year and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

"Nothing's happened beyond what's normal in the treatment process," Chavez said.

Chavez has provided little information about his ongoing health issues but maintains he is recovering and plans to win re-election in 2012.

A stream of recent media reports provide a different outlook, including Fox News Latino's report indicating kidney failure and El Nuevo Herald's report that Chavez's doctors said he is not improving as they hoped.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported Venezuelan bonds rallied the most in three months on speculations of Chavez's deteriorating health.

"There’s a lot of distrust surrounding his comments about his health. The bottom line is his situation does not look good and bonds will rally on the fact he may be eliminated from the picture and not be there for elections," Aryam Vazquez, an emerging-markets economist at Wells Fargo & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg Businessweek Thursday.

Venezuela is a major producer of oil products, which is considered the keystone of the country's economy. Chavez is considered a price hawk in OPEC due to his continued push for higher target oil prices in effort to improve the country's social situation.


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