“You are not alone in this fight”
HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has arrived in Cuba on Monday to show his solidarity with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, who will be undergoing another cancer operation in the next several hours or days.
“He is faced with a serious health problem,” said Correa shortly before his noon arrival at the Jose Marti Airport in Havana, where he was welcomed by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
Ecuadorian President unexpectedly announced on Twitter this morning that he was traveling to Cuba to see Chavez. The Venezuelan leader said on Saturday that he would be operated on again for the recurrence of cancer in his pelvic area.
This is a “historic president” in Latin America, said Correa upon his arrival in Havana, where he also referred to Chavez as a “dear friend” and an “extraordinary human being.”
“I have come to give him a hug on behalf of the Ecuadorian people and I think one in the name of la patria grande [Latin America]. You are not alone in this fight,” said Correa.
Chavez, 58, said on Saturday night that he had to undergo a fourth operation for cancer originally diagnosed 18 months ago. The Venezuelan leader also raised for the first time the possibility that he might not be able to continue serving in office and proposed his vice president, Nicolas Maduro, as his possible successor.
His disappearance from public view after winning his fourth presidential term this past October 7 caused speculation about his health in recent weeks.
Chavez himself said in his televised message on Saturday that it was “absolutely essential” to undergo a new operation in Cuba, where he has been treated since the beginning of his illness.
From all across Latin America in the last hours have come messages of solidarity with the Venezuelan president. The parliament in Caracas on Sunday approved Chavez’s trip for more than five days abroad, though it’s not known how long the Venezuelan leader will remain in Havana.