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Venezuela's Chavez visits troops on live TV

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks during a meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks Tuesday during a meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas.Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS
/ Source: The Associated Press

Venezuela's ailing President Hugo Chavez appeared live on television Thursday, meeting with cadets and other soldiers at the country's largest military base and vowing to survive his recent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.

"We will live. We will be victorious," said Chavez, who was dressed in a blue-and-white track suit.

He spoke while promoting several hundred troops in fatigues gathered in a courtyard.

It was the first public appearance by Chavez since Tuesday, when he spoke and met with visiting leaders during Venezuela's bicentennial celebrations. Chavez noted that troops from China, Russia and Belarus took part in the country's bicentennial parade.

Chavez said he couldn't stay to speak long.

"I don't have much time, but I give you my heart like always," Chavez said.

The former lieutenant colonel recalled he had been stationed at the base and later hollered commands to the troops to stand at ease and at attention.

"Before anything, I have arrived in my alma mater, the site of my second birth," he said, referring to the military academy.