CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A march by thousands of Venezuelans for the country's bicentennial celebrations became a show of support for ailing President Hugo Chavez on Sunday while he remained in Cuba recovering from surgery that removed a cancerous tumor.
The president's red-clad supporters waved flags, beat drums and chanted "Long live Chavez!" They also displayed signs reading "Get well soon, commander" and "Venezuela is with you."
A message on Chavez's Twitter account said he was doing his "daily exercises and receiving that bath of love" from the demonstrators in Caracas.
"It's the best medicine!" he said in the message.
Venezuelan state television showed new video footage on Sunday of Chavez chatting with his foreign minister and taking a stroll hand-in-hand with two of his daughters, Rosa and Maria. He wore a sports jersey with his name on the back, holding his daughters' hands as they walked along a concrete path surrounded by grass and palm trees.
Chavez has lost weight following his surgeries and appeared thin, though energetic and animated as he reminisced with Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro about old friends. State television said the video was recorded Friday. Photographs of the encounter were also published by Venezuela's state news agency and the state-run Cuban news media.
"President Chavez, fulfilling the recovery plan he has in our country, walked for about 10 minutes with his family, Foreign Minister Maduro and part of his medical team. He got some sun and exercised," newspaper Juventud Rebelde said in a brief story.
Maduro said during an interview televised Saturday that Venezuelan and Cuban doctors removed a cancerous tumor from Chavez's pelvic region last month and conducted tests that showed the president's vital organs are healthy.
"They were able to completely remove the tumor," Maduro said. "They examined all of his organs and they are in perfect condition."
The state-run Venezuelan News Agency, or AVN, quoted Maduro as saying Chavez "is in a new phase of recuperation, doing his exercises."
Associated Press writer Peter Orsi in Havana contributed to this report.
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