Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has arrived in Cuba to begin radiation therapy, one month after undergoing surgery to remove a second cancerous tumor.
According to the Associated Press, Chavez was met by Cuban President Raul Castro on arrival at Havana’s José Martí airport.
The 57-year-old had been recovering from surgery in the Cuban capital on February 26 which he said removed a tumor from his pelvic region, following the extraction of a first tumor in June last year. Chavez has yet to disclose what type of cancer he has, Bloomberg reports.
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During a televised cabinet meeting on Saturday before boarding a plane at Venezuela’s international airport in the capital city of Caracas, Chavez said treatment was to begin right away, adding that his therapy was expected to continue for “four or five weeks.”
“I’ve decided, on the recommendation of my medical team and also my government political team, to begin… radiation therapy treatment,” he said, describing the planned treatment as a “complement to the surgery that I underwent,” the UK Press Association reported.
“I’ll be back in a few days,” he added. Some of Chavez’s aides reportedly led supporters in prayers for his health outside a cathedral in Venezuela’s south-western city of San Cristobal.
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Chavez, who is seeking a third term as president in elections set for October 7, has rejected calls from the opposition to name a formal replacement during his absences in Cuba, insisting he can govern from his hospital bed, Reuters reports.
He faces a strong challenge from the 39-year-old Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles, who is representing a unified opposition movement, according to the Agence France Presse.
But most recent polls have put Chavez safely ahead of Capriles, thanks to the president’s exploitation of the country’s vast oil wealth to fund popular social programs.
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