Hugo Chavez appears on TV for 1st time in 9 days

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has appeared on television for the first time in nine days during which he underwent surgery in Cuba to remove a tumor.

Chavez spoke firmly in footage recorded Saturday in Havana while accompanied by various government ministers and older brother Adan Chavez. The president said his recuperation has been "frank, progressive and rapid" in the footage aired Sunday in Venezuela.

Chavez said "still it hasn't been six days because the operation ended on the night of last Sunday." He verified the date of the recording by displaying a Saturday copy of the Cuban government newspaper "Granma" and a similar copy of the Venezuelan government paper Correo del Orinoco.

He has said doctors found the growth in the same pelvic area where a malignant, baseball-sized tumor was extracted in June 2011.