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Chavez Turns 57 Vowing to Stay in Power until 2031

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavezsang, danced and said he intends to stay in power for two more decades as he celebrated his 57th birthday looking ahead to months of cancer treatment.

Chavez rallied a crowd of cheering supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace on Thursday, waving a large Venezuelan flag and briefly wrapping himself in it. He said he expects to lose his hair soon as a result of chemotherapy and that a long process of treatment lies ahead.

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Cuba Cigar Factory 'Readers' Keep Oral Tradition Smoking

Perched on a wooden dais in front of 600 workers rolling Cuba's legendary cigars, Grisel reads aloud -- poems, novels and even sex tips from the newspaper -- keeping workers entertained, their attention rapt, just the way it has been done for 150 years.

Grisel, 55, a petite former teacher who wears reading glasses she adjusts frequently, may have a job that predates electricity.

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Chavez Reaffirms his Candidacy in 2012

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has returned home after receiving cancer treatment in Cuba, said in an interview published Monday that he will seek "with more strength than before" his re-election to the presidency in 2012.

"I have medical, scientific, human, romantic and political reasons to continue to lead the government and pursue the candidacy with more strength than before," Chavez told Correo del Orinoco newspaper.

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In 1st TV Remarks from Cuba, Chavez Says '1st Cycle' of Chemo Completed

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday he has finished his "first cycle" of chemotherapy in Cuba and will begin the second of various phases of treatment.

Chavez vowed to overcome his cancer, saying he is confident of winning re-election next year and staying in power for at least six more years. He spoke in a telephone call carried live on state television during a speech by his vice president, Elias Jaua.

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From Cuba, Chavez Governs Via Twitter

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is using Twitter as a tool to govern remotely while he undergoes cancer treatment in Cuba.

In more than 40 messages this week on his "chavezcandanga" account, he has approved money for a Caracas trash collection project, praised plans for a new park and cheered on the national soccer team.

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Chavez in Cuba for Chemotherapy

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Cuba late Saturday to begin chemotherapy treatment for his cancer.

Chavez, who was accompanied by his daughter Rosa, will stay there an undisclosed period of time.

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Chavez Makes First TV Appearance after Surgery

Hugo Chavez appeared on Cuban state television Tuesday, with revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, for the first time since the Venezuelan president underwent emergency surgery in Cuba.

The 56-year-old appeared to have lost weight, but was animated in speech as usual as he stood alongside Castro, 84, the footage showed. The video also aired in Venezuela to dispel rumors about Chavez's medical condition.

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Chavez in 'Critical' Condition

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who is in Cuba following emergency surgery, is in "critical" but stable condition, Miami's El Nuevo Herald reported, citing U.S. intelligence sources.

Chavez's government has said he was operated on for a pelvic abscess on June 10 and is recovering well; the president's brother has told Venezuelan state media that Chavez could return to Caracas in about two weeks.

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Cuban Ballet Brings 'Message of Peace' to U.S. after 8 Years

The National Ballet of Cuba plans to deliver a "message of peace" when it leaves Sunday for its first United States tour in eight years, its director, Alicia Alonso, said Friday.

"It will be wonderful to visit again... and bring to the United States our art, and a message of peace and love," the dance legend told reporters.

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Cuban Seeks To Break Own Record With 70-Meter Cigar

A Cuban cigar roller began Monday rolling a 70-meter (230-foot) cigar in an attempt to nearly double his previous Guinness world record, a spokesman said.

Working eight hours a day for nine days, 67-year-old Jose "Cueto" Castelar is hoping to break his 2009 record of a 43.38-meter-long (142-foot-long) stogie.

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