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Hugo Chavez sends letter from sickbed to regional summit

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's cancer-stricken president, sent a letter from his sickbed to a regional summit.

chavez letter sickbed regional summit jan 2013Enlarge
Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrate after his re-election in Caracas on Oct. 7, 2012. Chavez, recovering from another round of surgery for his cancer, sent a letter from his sickbed to the regional summit on January 28, 2013. (Juan Baretto/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, still recovering from his latest surgery for cancer, sent a letter on Monday to a regional summit, calling for Latin American unity.

Addressing the CELAC-European Union summit in Chile, he said, "I'm sorry I can't attend this meeting in Santiago de Chile, but as you all know, since December I've been battling once again for my health," according to Reuters.

Reuters noted that Chavez was a driving force behind the creation of CELAC, which stands for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

He called for even greater regional unity, saying, "Now more than ever, we can say that we have truly followed in the footsteps of our liberators."

Monday's letter also called on regional leaders to oppose the United States' embargo on Cuba. "After 30 years of resisting this criminal imperial blockade, Latin America and the Caribbean is saying to the US, in one voice, that all your attempts to leave out Cuba are failing," the letter read, according to the Associated Press.

On Saturday, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Chavez had overcome a lung infection that he was suffering from after his last surgery in Cuba, 45 days ago.

Chavez has not been seen or heard from since his last procedure, The Wall Street Journal noted. Speculation about the leader's health has been rampant, generating doubt about whether he might have to step down.

More on GlobalPost: Venezuelan official says Chavez getting 'systemic medical treatment:' Report

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/venezuela/130128/hugo-chavez-sends-letter-sickbed-regional-summit