Chavez Vows to Speed Socialist Drive in Venezuela
President tries to quell rumors that he's gravely ill
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 12, 2011 3:48 PM CDT
In this photo provided by Miraflores presidential press office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, third right, exercises as part of his recovery process, Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 11, 2011.   ((AP Photo/Miraflores Presidential Office))

(Newser) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez promised today to accelerate his drive for socialism in Venezuela as he recovers from June 20 surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. "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," he said. "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." He also has been shown in recent days doing stretching exercises, leading a Cabinet meeting, and addressing troops.