Chavez Arrives in Cuba for New Cancer Operation

December 10, 2012 | Print Print |

Hugo Chavez. photo:cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Venezuela president Hugo Chavez arrived in Cuba to undergo a fourth cancer operation in 18 months, with some people fearful that his health is worsening, reported DPA news.

His Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, welcomed him at dawn today at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, reported the island’s media. Public television showed pictures of the Venezuelan leader getting off the plane wearing sportswear and hugging Castro.

On Sunday, Chavez received authorization from the Venezuelan parliament to travel to Cuba again for surgery.

The South American leader said on Saturday night that malignant cells had again been detected in his body and therefore it was “absolutely essential” to undergo another operation.

Chavez has never specified what kind of cancer he has. It’s only known that it’s located in his pelvic area.

In his message, the 58-year-old president spoke for the first time about the possibility of his being unable to continue in office. Chavez, who on October 7 won yet another six-year term, said Vice President Nicolas Maduro would be the right person to succeed him in the event of “any circumstances” that prevented him from continuing.

The president had just left Cuba on Friday after being there for nine days, during which time he underwent hyperbaric oxygen treatment to strengthen his bones after several sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy that followed the previous surgeries in 2011 and earlier this year. Medical exams, said Chavez, had determined the presence of new cancer cells.

In recent weeks, rumors about his health had begun to circulate, with Chavez himself having spoken about new discomforts, which led him to reduce his public appearances following the election campaign for his fourth term.

The opposition voted on Sunday in Caracas in support of travel authorization for the president, but at the same time they asked for more transparency regarding his illness.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who was defeated in the October elections by Chavez, criticized both the designation of Maduro as a successor. In Venezuela there’s no “line of succession,” said Capriles, who also expressed his “solidarity” with Chavez.

Messages of support for the Venezuelan president came from all over Latin American, while media sources close to the government reported on marches in Caracas in support of Chavez.

Cuba has also followed the recent announcement about Chavez with particular interest. Government-run media on the island broadcast the Sunday address live and in full.

Venezuela is the main strategic ally of Cuba, whose economy depends on oil supplies on concessionary terms from Caracas.

Raul Castro’s government has so far guaranteed Chavez complete discretion regarding his medical treatment. Since mid-2011, a number of trips have been made to the island by the Venezuelan leader, who has undergone three operations and received chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments – always in complete secrecy.

No official information has been provided about the location of Chavez in Havana, though it is assumed that he’s at the Medical Surgical Research Center (CIMEQ), which is the best equipped hospital in Cuba, located to the west of the capital.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses

    While the Cubans may have the best cancer treatment knowledge in Latin America and among the best in the third world, I bet around now Chavez is wishing that he had more friends at the Mayo Clinic or Sloan-Kettering Hositals in the US. Rhetoric aside, when your life is on the line, you wnt the best treatment available. Even the best-equipped hospital in Cuba is likely less well-equipped than the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. This hospital is,, year after year, hailed as the best cancer treatment center in the world and is responsible for generating, along with a few other US facilities, the majority of the scientific advancements in cancer research in the last 10 or more years. Many of the world’s most powerful people who have been stricken with cancer and survived were treated at this facility. Chavez should have told the truth about his illness from the beginning and immediately sought the best treatment available regardless of politics or borders. It sounds like it may be too late now.

  • Cort Greene

    Well some in his family did want him to go to Brazil for treatments. Hope he pulls out of it.

    Nicolas Maduro as the heir apparent will not sit well within parts of the bureaucracy and the grassroots.
    The grassroots should be able to say who they want to complete their revolution but they can’t get a say even in the process of the PSUV.

    Cort

  • Griffin

    “Inside information on Chavez leaked to the Spanish press”

    The Spanish newspaper ABC, which claims to have access to inside information, reports today that Hugo Chavez has entered an irreversible decline.

    Among the details provided:

    * The cancer has not only returned to the pelvic area, but has also spread to his bones. This means that Chavez is in constant pain and taking high doses of pain-killers and sedatives.

    * The sudden departure of Chavez for Cuba on November 27 was precipitated by a sharp downturn in his health, which included intense stomach pains, vomiting of blood, and loss of consciousness.

    * When Chavez arrived in Havana he was in critical condition.

    * The hyperbaric chamber treatments were for lesions that were caused months ago by his radiation theraphy, which have not yet healed.

    * The surgery being performed today may buy him some time, but cannot save his life.

    * Chavez is being cared for by a team of Russian doctors, who rushed to Havana on a chartered jet.

    * Chavez was warned by his doctors over a year ago that he needed to step down from office and undergo more extensive treatment, but refused to follow their advice. At one point, near the date of the Venezuelan election, plans were made to send him to Moscow, but he refused to go. His current condition is due to “months of neglect,” according to the Russian oncologists.

    * It is highly unlikely that Chavez will recover, or even be able to assume office. On most days, he cannot even get out of bed.

    This explains why Chavez has announced his vice president and confidant, Nicolas Maduro, would assume control if he has to step down. He urged supporters to vote for Maduro, who made his mark as Chavez’s foreign minister, should there be a need for a presidential election. Maduro is said to be “close to Cuba”, which is a way of saying he’s Raul’s choice.

  • Cort Greene

    Article 233 says that if a president-elect were to die, resign or be declared physically or mentally incapacitated before being sworn in, it is not the Vice President but the President of the National Assembly that becomes acting president. Currently that is Diosdado Cabello and elections would called within 30 days.

    Within the bureaucracy of power monsters in the various factions and Boli-bourgeois , the only one that could keep it all together would be Chavez’s brother,Adan.

    Most of the others are pretenders, corrupt or both.

    • Griffin

      “pretenders or corrupt or both” …?

      That describes Chavez to a tee.

  • Luis

    This is becoming much like Fidel’s 600th death announcement.

    Mr. US Department of State’s spokesman, would you REALLY rely on medical care from one country a supported a COUP – and perhaps an assassination – on you?