Concern about the health of Venezuela President Hugo Chávez grew Friday amid reports in the Brazilian press that the cancer sufferer would seek emergency treatment in Brazil.
The Associated Press cited a report in the Brazilian daily O Globo that Chávez could be headed to the hospital Sirio e Libanês in Sao Paulo, and one in Brazil’s O Globo that his cancer had metastasized and doctors expected it to spread to his liver.
Other Brazilian media reports suggested that Chávez would make an emergency trip to Brazil after allegedly suffering intestinal burns during his radiation treatment in Cuba.
However, Chávez on Friday announced in a phone call broadcast on television that he was heading back to Cuba for his next round of radiation therapy.
Chavez returned to Venezuela on Wednesday from his latest round of radiation therapy treatment in Cuba, where doctors last year removed a cancerous tumor from his abdominal region.
He said the daily radiation treatments in Havana would help him continue a "battle for health and for life," the AP reported in a separate bulletin.
A day earlier, Chavez broke down during a televised Catholic Mass in his home state of Barinas Thursday, saying tearfully that he was not ready to die and begging Jesus Christ to grant him life.
The Wall Street Journal, meantime, cited a press release posted on the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry site as saying Chávez had talked with former president Lula and said he would like to visit Brazil soon to meet him. The statement did not mention going to Brazil for treatment, however.
And Venezuela's Defense Minister Gen. Henry Rangel Silva has dismissed reports that Chavez's health had worsened, saying that they were "part of a campaign to wear down the government and its achievements."
Chávez is facing a potentially close presidential contest in October.
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