Chavez headed to Cuba for more cancer treatment

Posted at 04/14/12 7:43 AM

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans to return to Cuba Saturday for what he said would be the last two cycles of radiation therapy to treat a recurrence of cancer.

"What is certain and sure is that tomorrow I will go to Havana to continue the treatment," Chavez, 57, said Friday, noting that he was considering asking lawmakers for permission to stay there, rather than traveling back and forth.
The Venezuelan president said his latest trip to Cuba would last several days, but he did not rule out traveling to the Colombian resort city of Cartagena for the opening of the two-day Summit of the Americas.
Under the constitution, Chavez is required to seek permission from the National Assembly if he is to stay outside the country for more than five days.
The announcement of Chavez's return to Cuba, however, came only two days after he arrived home from the island late Wednesday after completing a third course of radiation therapy.
The leftwing firebrand had timed his return to Venezuela to participate in events that commemorated his return to the presidency after being briefly removed from power 10 years ago during a coup.
Chavez had surgery in late February in Havana after the return of the cancer he was originally diagnosed with in 2011.
He has been undergoing treatment in Havana, after surgery last month to take out a malignant tumor in the same pelvic area where another tumor was removed in June 2011.
Officials in Caracas have never specified the type of cancer the president has or exactly where it is, but insist it has not spread to other organs.
In addition to battling cancer, Chavez is also running for a third six-year term as president in the October 7 election. He faces a tough reelection against the youthful united opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
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