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Venezuela: Chavez To Have Surgery In Cuba
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he will have surgery in Cuba after his cancer returned.
The recently re-elected president has also revealed for the first time that if his health worsens, his successor would be Vice President Nicolas Maduro.
"We should guarantee the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution," Mr Chavez said on television, seated at the presidential palace with Mr Maduro and other aides.
The president said that tests had shown a return of "some malignant cells" in the same area where tumours were previously removed.
Referring to his "new battle," he said he would return to Cuba to undergo surgery in the coming days.
The planned surgery will be Mr Chavez's third operation to remove cancerous tissue in about a year and a half.
The 58-year-old first underwent cancer surgery for an unspecified type of pelvic cancer in Cuba in June 2011, after an operation for a pelvic abscess earlier in the month found the cancer.
He had another cancer surgery after a tumour appeared in the same area in February 2012. He has also undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Mr Chavez arrived back in Caracas on December 7 after 10 days of medical treatment in Cuba, but until Saturday night had not referred to his health.
His unexplained decision to skip a summit of regional leaders in Brazil on Friday had raised suspicions among many Venezuelans that his health had taken a turn for the worse.
Mr Chavez said that he was requesting permission from lawmakers to travel to Havana and that he hoped to have good news after the surgery.