Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is celebrating his 57th birthday vowing to survive cancer and proposing to host a summit meeting in Caracas in December.

Mr. Chavez says on state television that he expects to be finished with the toughest portion of his cancer treatment by that time.

He says he has sent letters inviting Latin American and Caribbean leaders to a summit in Caracas on December 9. The summit had originally been scheduled for July 5 and 6 but was postponed due to Mr. Chavez’s illness.

Mr. Chavez says he needs to limit his contact with the public because chemotherapy has lowered the natural defences of his immune system. But he also says he plans to address supporters from a balcony of the presidential palace on Thursday.

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