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Hugo Chavez returns to Cuba for further radiotherapy


Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is returning to Cuba for further radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

Hugo Chavez had surgery in Cuba last month to remove a tumor in his pelvic area after a recurrence of cancer first treated last year.

His illness has cast doubt on his ability to campaign for re-election in October.

Hugo Chavez will coincide in Havana with Pope Benedict, who is due to fly to Cuba on Monday.

“Tonight I leave for Havana. I have decided on the recommendation of my medical team and my political team to begin the radiation treatment on Sunday,” Hugo Chavez said during a televised meeting with his cabinet.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is returning to Cuba for further radiotherapy treatment for cancer

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is returning to Cuba for further radiotherapy treatment for cancer

Hugo Chavez, 57, said the treatment was a complement to the surgery he had a month ago, from which he says he is recovering well.

Last year Hugo Chavez had surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy in Cuba, after a baseball-sized growth was detected in his pelvic region.

The Venezuelan leader has never revealed the exact nature of his cancer, fuelling speculation that his health may be worse than officially stated.

Hugo Chavez has told Venezuelan to ignore rumors he says are aimed at destabilizing the country.

In October’s election, he is facing a strong challenge from opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski.

Hugo Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, is seeking another six-year term to continue his programme of “socialist revolution”.