Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez stated that a tumor removed last week by doctors in Cuba was cancerous though claimed that the disease hadn’t spread to other parts of his body.
Chavez, making his first television appearance since traveling to Havana Feb. 24 to undergo surgery, didn’t say when he’d return to Venezuela, where he’s preparing to run for re- election in October.
“As I said in Caracas, it was most likely that the lesion was malignant,” Chavez, wearing a red shirt and surrounded by members of his Cabinet, said on a video recorded March 3 in Cuba and broadcast on Venezuelan state television yesterday. “The entire lesion, measuring two centimeters, was removed. But almost everything indicated that it was likely cancerous, what they call a recurrence.”
Chavez, 57, said he will undergo radiation therapy once the scarring process finishes and doesn’t rule out other kinds of treatment. Doctors determined that there was no metastasis in his body, he said in the 90-minute appearance in which he tried to project the image of leadership Venezuelans have grown accustomed to during his 13-year rule by invoking his 19th century political hero Simon Bolivar, discussing his government’s policies and even breaking into song.
The former paratrooper is recovering from an operation to remove a lesion from the same pelvic area from which doctors removed a baseball-sized tumor about eight months ago. Chavez has declined to say exactly what kind of cancer he has or allow access to his medical records. Since last year he’s undergone four rounds of chemotherapy.