Chavez Returns to Cuba for Longer Stay

Hugo Chavez in early March at the Havana hospital where he was operated on for cancer. Photo: Estudios Revolución

HAVANA TIMES, April 16 — Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez made his sixth trip to Cuba in two months on Saturday, to continue his radiotherapy treatment against cancer.

On this occasion, Chavez plans to stay for over a week in Havana, unlike the last three visits when he arrived on Saturday and returned home on Wednesday evening.

In Venezuela a president must ask for permission from the legislature to remain outside the country for over five days. His request was approved on Saturday.

The parliament chair, Diosdado Cabello, told Chavez, “Rest up and return healthier than ever.”

Chavez will undergo the fourth round of radiotherapy of what was originally announced as a total of five sessions.

He had a second cancerous tumor removed at the end of February and is hoping to prevent any future recurrence.

The exact location of the first tumor, extracted in June 2011, or the second, removed from the same area, has not been made public.  The only statement has been that the surgeries took place in the “pelvic area”.

Facing reelection in October 2012, Chavez has thus far said his campaign will proceed on course, although he has also acknowledged being in a “battle for life”, which he expects to win.

Chavez, who first took office back in 1999, is the Cuban government’s top political ally and during his presidency, Venezuela became the island’s leading trade partner.