(Reuters): - Hailing his rebound from cancer as a "miracle" and firing up his supporters with spiritual rhetoric, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has hit the road to campaign for re-election in October.

The socialist leader began a series of campaign rallies under a rainstorm in the eastern city of Barcelona, seeking to show his health is fine and to capitalize on the emotional connection with Venezuela's poor that has underpinned his rule.

"I'm in the street again, thank God, after everything that's happened in the last year. It's a miracle!" he roared to tens of thousands of supporters on Thursday night in the first of a series of planned appearances round the nation.

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