CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez told supporters Monday that cancer will not stop him from running for another term next year, adding that he was “absolutely sure” voters will re-elect him.

“I am the candidate of the revolution,” Chavez said, speaking by phone to a group of his backers after returning from medical treatment in Cuba.

Chavez underwent surgery in June in Havana to remove an abscess and a tumor. He has not said what kind of cancer he has.

The president returned to Cuba on July 17 to undergo a “rigorous screening,” which he said detected no sign of the disease in his body. As a precaution, he decided to undergo chemotherapy.

Chavez returned in time to mark the birthday Sunday of Simon Bolivar, Chavez’s idol and Venezuela’s equivalent of George Washington. He ordered Bolivar’s remains to be exhumed from the national pantheon a year ago in an effort to determine his cause of death, and he spoke to supporters as a report was presented on the investigation.

Chavez said he didn’t think Bolivar died of tuberculosis in Colombia in 1830, as most historians believe, but that he was murdered.