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In the midst of regional elections Chavez returns to Cuba to continue cancer treatment

Wednesday, November 28th 2012 - 00:07 UTC
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The Venezuelan president has rarely been seen since his re-election victory The Venezuelan president has rarely been seen since his re-election victory

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he is returning to Cuba on Tuesday to continue treatment for cancer, raising new questions about his health just weeks after he won re-election to another six-year term.

Chavez, who had claimed in July that he was cancer free, disclosed his travel plans in a letter to the National Assembly that left unclear whether he had suffered a relapse.

The 58-year-old, who has been in power since 1999 and gained international prominence as an anti-US firebrand, appeared weakened and subdued during the presidential campaign but he won a third term that extends to 2018. In the letter, Chavez said he had been zealously following a “complementary treatment plan” ordered by his doctors, despite the intense re-election campaign.

They recommended undergoing “a special treatment consisting of various sessions of hyperbaric oxygenation along with physiotherapy to continue to consolidate the strengthening health I have been experiencing,” he said.

Chavez, who has never disclosed the type or severity of the cancer he had, underwent surgery to remove a tumour in his pelvic region last year in Cuba followed by multiple rounds of chemotherapy after the cancer returned.

The trip to Cuba for medical treatment would be Chavez's first since July when he said he was free of the disease.

Once a dominant media presence, commandeering national television and radio on a weekly basis and firing off multiple tweets, Chavez has largely dropped from sight since his re-election October 7.

Television pictures have shown him leading meetings of his cabinet at the presidential palace, but otherwise he has been a no-show even though the country is heading into important regional elections December 16.

Chavez had been expected to attend rallies in support of his former vice president, Elias Jaua, who is running for governor of the key state of Miranda against the opposition's former presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles.

“Where is the president?” Capriles recently asked, challenging Chavez to “show your face.”

“The president offered villas and castles during the campaign and now he has disappeared, now you don't see him anywhere,” said Capriles.

Luis Vicente Leon, head of the Datanalisis polling firm, said Chavez's absence from the regional campaign was evidence that his health remains a problem.

“The climate will fill up again with rumours about Chavez's illness and the regional campaign will be overshadowed,” he said.


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  • ChrisR

    Well, I hate to be proven right but Dead Man Walking is going for Hyperbaric Oxygenation Treatment.

    It seems the steroids have not worked and are now time expired for his general health.

    HBOT is used to super oxygenate the blood to help defeat deep seated infections. It now seems his cancer, the size of a baseball was removed from the pelvic area, a site known to be very difficult to keep infection free after scar tissue forms in the locale thus preventing the normal flow of oxygen.

    Oxygen at up to three bar pressure is not something to be taken lightly, in recent years 60 people have lost their lives in raging fires within the pressure chamber, similar to a decompression chamber for divers.

    There are other potential contra-indications that could well apply to Chavez but I would imagine the real risk is from the deep seated infection: he could well lose one or both legs at the hip in an attempt to stop the infection taking his life.

    Anyone remember his claim that he could be re-elected because he had no health worries. I bet he is worried now if his Cuban doctors have to him the true facts.

    Still, he has robbed directly or indirectly using his cronies a significant part of the wealth of Venezuela and he is just getting his come-uppance and good riddance.

    Nov 28th, 2012 - 12:38 am 0
  • Pirate Love

    sounds like hes getting out of dodge before mad Crustina and her circus aarive in town for the unasur gathering with her cap in hand, please chubby can i have some more???

    Nov 28th, 2012 - 12:41 am 0
  • Troy Tempest

    Who will be his successor?

    Will it be an ugly transition or are his people firmly entrenched?

    Where will Crissy stay when she takes the last flight out of BA ??

    Nov 28th, 2012 - 12:55 am 0
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