Jul 15, 2011 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Friday that he will return to Cuba to begin a new phase of cancer treatment that will include chemotherapy.
Chavez said he would go to Havana on Saturday “to begin what we’ve called the second phase.”
Chavez said he was sending a letter to the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly to secure authorization for his trip, as required by the constitution.
The 56-year-old announced his plans after meeting with Peruvian President-elect Ollanta Humala at the presidential palace. Humala wished Chavez the best in “this personal battle you are leading.”
Chavez underwent surgery in Cuba on June 20 to remove a cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. He has said the tumor was the size of a baseball.
Chavez had aknowledged on Wednesday for the first time that he expected to eventually undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
His revelation of his trip to Cuba came after reports from Brazil that the Venezuelan leader could undergo his next round of treatment at Sirio-Libanes Hospital in Sao Paulo, which is considered one of the best hospitals in South America.
As they began their meeting at the presidential palace, Humala told Chavez: “Count on our prayers.”
“You still have to fulfill a mission with your people as president,” Humala said before they walked into the palace together.
Chavez has kept up near-daily public remarks in the past week while shortening the length of his televised speeches, saying he is under strict doctors’ orders. He has abandoned his usual late-night speeches and says he is waking up every day at 5 a.m.