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Chavez recovering from cancer surgery but no official work on his condition

Tuesday, February 28th 2012 - 17:23 UTC
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The Venezuelan president emotional departure to Cuba hailed by cheering supporters (Photo Afp) The Venezuelan president emotional departure to Cuba hailed by cheering supporters (Photo Afp)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez came out of cancer surgery overnight in Cuba and is recovering in a hospital, two sources said on Tuesday, but there was still no official word on the leader's condition.

The 57-year-old returned to Havana last week for more surgery despite repeatedly saying he was cured after two procedures last year. That has fuelled doubts about his ability to campaign for re-election in October, or to govern if he won.

A prominent opposition-leaning Venezuelan journalist, Nelson Bocaranda, said the president was “well” after the exploratory procedure at Havana's Cimeq Hospital.

A medical source close to the team that had been treating him in Caracas said the surgery lasted 90 minutes.

Chavez's government responded to criticism of the secrecy surrounding his condition by naming Health Minister Eugenia Sader last week as its spokesperson on the issue.

But four days after Chavez bid an emotional farewell to throngs of cheering supporters in the Venezuelan capital, there has been no official comment.

Before he left on Friday, Chavez said he would need surgery on a probably-malignant lesion found in his pelvis where a large cancerous tumour was removed last June. He has also said he might need radiation treatment following the latest operation, raising the prospect of another lengthy convalescence.

Chavez's health situation could condition his re-election campaign, when he normally would want to crisscross Venezuela during the run-up to an October 7 vote that will pit him against opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, a 39-year-old state governor.

Before the announcement that he would need more surgery, opinion polls showed Venezuelans broadly split with a third pro-Chavez, a third pro-opposition and a third undecided.

But the polls indicate Chavez might have a slight edge in voter enthusiasm - attributed to his popularity among the poor and an increase in welfare spending for the neediest.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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  • ChrisR

    The Russians, who acted as 'advisors' during the last episode, have accused the Cubans of 'botching' the prostrate surgery and allowing the cancer to spread to the colon, lymph glands and the bone marrow.

    In December 2011, the Cuban team gave Mr Chavez two years to live, while the Russians believed he would be dead within the year.

    I have said, ever since the last surgery, that the use of steroids was a last chance gamble.

    I just wish he would get a grip on reality and resign the presidency to spend the last few months with his family. He will reget it if he does not. I have seen all this before. It will not be pleasant at the end.

    Feb 28th, 2012 - 06:16 pm 0
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