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Chavez to troops: Thanks for the 'loyalty and love'

Published on Jan 17, 2013 5:59 AM
Handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency press office showing Vice-president Nicolas Maduro (centre) walking with the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly Diosdado Cabello (centre left) and Venezuela's Defense Minister Diego Molero Bellavia (centre right) during a ceremony with the military in Caracas on Jan 16, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP

CARACAS (AFP) - Lying in a Havana hospital bed as he recovers from cancer surgery, President Hugo Chavez thanked Venezuela's military for their loyalty and love, the vice president said Wednesday.

Nicolas Maduro told a military audience the president expressed this message to Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is also Chavez's son-in-law and with him in Cuba.

"He told us to pass on to the armed forces, from the bottom of his heart, all of his gratitude for so much loyalty from you toward the commander, a humble soldier of this country," said Mr Maduro, who saw Mr Chavez over the weekend in Havana.

"Thanks to everyone for so much loyalty and so much love," Mr Maduro said, quoting Mr Arreaza as quoting Mr Chavez, a former paratrooper who is now 58.

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