Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chavez heads to Cuba for further cancer treatment

Chávez to return to Cuba for cancer treatment

Second phase of Chávez's cancer treatment may include chemotherapy or radiation treatment
    Hugo Chavez has reassured the Venezuelan people that he is confident he will recover from his cancer. Photograph: AP
    Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez announced on Friday that he will return to Cuba to begin a new phase of cancer treatment that may include chemotherapy. Chávez said he would go to Havana on Saturday "to begin what we've called the second phase". He said he was sending a letter to the president of Venezuela's national assembly, Fernando Soto Rojas, to seek immediate "legislative authorisation" for his trip as required by the constitution. It was not clear how long Chávez planned to remain in Cuba. The 56-year-old's cancer diagnosis has thrown Venezuela's political landscape into uncertainty in the past two weeks. Chávez, who has been a dominant force for his more than 12 years in office, has assured the country that he is confident he will recover while also saying that a long road to recovery remains. Chávez underwent surgery in Cuba on 20 June to remove a cancerous tumour from his pelvic region. He has said the tumour was the size of a baseball. Chávez had aknowledged on Wednesday for the first time that he expected eventually to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment. He announced his plans to travel to Cuba after meeting with Peruvian president-elect Ollanta Humala at the presidential palace. Humala wished Chávez the best in "this personal battle you are leading". The revelation of his trip to Cuba came after reports from Brazil said the Venezuelan leader could undergo his next round of treatment at the Sirio-Libanes hospital in São Paulo, which is considered one of the best hospitals in South America. As they began their meeting at the presidential palace, Humala told Chávez: "Count on our prayers." "You still have to fulfil a mission with your people as president," Humala said before they walked into the palace together. Chaávez has kept up near-daily public remarks in the past week while shortening the length of his televised speeches, saying he is under strict doctors' orders. He has abandoned his usual late-night speeches, though on Thursday he spoke to a crowd of supporters and led a cabinet meeting.More...

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