Chavez Tells Venezuela His Cancer is Back

Guess those trips to the “great” health care clin­ics of Cuba worked out well for him.

Or not.

Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Hugo Chavez announced late Sat­ur­day that his can­cer has returned and that he will go to Cuba to undergo surgery.

Speak­ing dur­ing a tele­vised address from the pres­i­den­tial palace, he said that if his health were to worsen, Vice Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro should replace him.

It was the first time Chavez spoke pub­licly about the pos­si­bil­ity of a suc­ces­sor — a shock­ing admis­sion from a man who looms larger than life in Venezuela and in Latin Amer­i­can politics.

It’s absolutely nec­es­sary, absolutely vital that I undergo a new oper­a­tion,” said Chavez.

As he spoke, he repeat­edly kissed a cross and at one point broke out into song.

An oper­a­tion like this, an ill­ness like this, always car­ries risk,” he said. “If some­thing were to hap­pen that would inca­pac­i­tate me, Nicholas Maduro should not only fin­ish my term as the con­sti­tu­tion requires … You should also elect Nicholas Maduro to be president.”

A spe­cial ses­sion of par­lia­ment will be con­vened Sun­day morn­ing to con­sider Chavez’s health and his pend­ing trip to Cuba, Dios­dado Cabello, pres­i­dent of the Venezue­lan National Assem­bly, said on state-run TV.

The par­lia­ment is required under the con­sti­tu­tion to approve any trip that takes the pres­i­dent out of the coun­try for more than five days.

Chavez has never told his coun­try or the rest of the world what type of can­cer he has, or the forms of treat­ment he’s been under­go­ing.  (Gotta love the man’s hon­esty and trans­parency there.)

More sur­pris­ing is that he’s named a pos­si­ble suc­ces­sor if his health fails.  That’s a first, and from the Latin Amer­i­can blogs I occa­sion­ally read, they view that as a sign that the wannabe Cas­tro may not live past his hero, and as a sign his can­cer is much more seri­ous this time around.

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