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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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