Ailing Duarte Returns to El Salvador

From Reuters

Ailing President Jose Napoleon Duarte returned to El Salvador on Monday after treatment for terminal cancer in the United States. He promised to continue working for democracy in this country until the end of his term.

"I am back to assume my duties again at the presidency and work for what I like most: democracy," Duarte said in an arrival message delivered in halting tones.

Looking ashen and drawn, he arrived aboard a U.S. Air Force plane after a 40-day absence from his war-torn homeland.

"A few minutes ago I heard the notes of the national anthem. I thought I would never hear them again," Duarte said, thanking God for giving him "vitality and strength."

Duarte, 62, was operated on at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington on June 7. Doctors removed two-thirds of his stomach but discovered that cancer had spread to several points on both lobes of his liver. Doctors say that the liver cancer will kill the Salvadoran leader in a matter of months.

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