Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez revealed that he is battling cancer after having a tumor removed in Cuba, assured his countrysmen he expects a full recovery.
Chavez, flanked by a Venezuelan flag and a portrait of Simón Bolívar, the South American liberator was noticeably thinner and paler as he appeared on television Thursday night, reading from a prepared speech with a serious and at times sad expression. He said he is resolved to “be victorious in this new battle that life has placed before us.” In his first live appearance since undergoing emergency pelvic surgery in Cuba on 10 June, Chávez said doctors had removed “cancerous cells” from his body. ” he stated.
Hugo Chavez ” This is the new battle that life has placed before us ”
Chavez’s admission shook the political landscape of a country he has dominated for his more than 12 years in power, and who had vowed to win re-election next year and govern for another decade or more, in Venezuela, a country where he is much beloved.
Hugo Chavez Cancer Revealation
“I neglected my health and I was reluctant to have medical check ups. It was a fundamental mistake for a revolutionary,” he said, directing his speech “to the Venezuelan people and the international public opinion”. the venezuelan leader Chavez continued.
There is no obvious successor to the charismatic Chavez within his Bolivarian movement, and his illness may also affect his leadership within the ALBA alliance of leftist Latin American nations.
Chavez said he had two operations in Cuba, including one that removed a tumor in which there were “cancerous cells.” The 56-year-old president said the surgery was performed after an initial operation nearly three weeks ago to remove a pelvic abscess.
A military chief, Gen. Henry Rangel Silva, assured the country on Friday that Venezuela’s stability “is guaranteed.”
“President Chavez will continue because he hasn’t truly stopped exercising his functions as president,” Rangel Silva said on state television. He said Chavez was recovering smoothly and had been on top of his duties while in Cuba.
Hugo Chavez return date to Venezuela uncertain
“He will be in our country soon,” Rangel said, without saying exactly when Chavez was expected to return.
Chavez said the tumor was in the pelvic region but didn’t say exactly where or what type of cancer was involved. He said he is continuing to receive treatment in Cuba but did not elaborate.
But the Venezuelan leader gave no hint as to when he might return home, closing his speech with the words: Hasta el retorno or “Until my return”.
He said it was a mistake not have taken better care of his health through medical checkups.
“What a fundamental error,” he said at a podium, flanked by the Venezuelan flag and a portrait of 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar, the namesake of his Bolivarian Revolution political movement.
“Now I wanted to speak to you from this steep hill, from which I feel that I’m coming out of another abyss,” Chavez said. “I wanted to speak to you now with the sun of daybreak that I feel is shining on me. I think we’ve achieved it. Thank you, my God.”
Expressing confidence that he will continue to get better, Chavez said: “I invite you all to continue climbing new summits together.”
Chávez slipped off the radar at the start of June when he embarked on a tour of South America and subsequently underwent emergency pelvic surgery in Cuba.
In his Thursday night address, broadcast on national television, an unusually reserved looking Chávez who read rather than improvised his speech, said Cuban doctors had detected “a strange formation in the pelvic region” following the first round of surgery.
During a second operation they found “cancerous cells”, he said, without specifying which kind of cancer had been detected.
Normally a media fanatic, Chávez had all but disappeared since being admitted to hospital in Havana earlier this month, virtually abandoning his Twitter account and appearing only in the occasional photograph or video.
Allies had continued to insist that the Venezuelan president would shortly return to Caracas, but rumours soon spread that Chávez was suffering from prostate cancer or had slipped into a coma. In Brazil, gossip columnists suggested Chávez was also suffering from lung complaints after starting smoking again.
“I have also been aware of a certain degree of concern and uncertainty that has… [affected] the Venezuelan nation on top of the attempts at manipulation by some sectors of society that are well known to all. Those feelings are inevitable and are part of human nature,” he said.
“We have full confidence that he will be victorious in his battle, as in all his battles,” Elías Jaua, Venezuela’s vice-president, told state television immediately after Chávez’s speech. “We are the sons and daughters of Bolívar. There is no time for sadness; only for courage to face the recovery period. We need to be united. We call on you to unite.”
Chávez had been tipped for a triumphant homecoming on 5 July, when his country celebrates 200 years of independence from Spain.
But on Wednesday authorities in Caracas announced he had cancelled a summit of Latin American leaders that would have coincided with the independence celebrations.
With a 2012 election on the horizon, analysts are divided on the impact Chávez’s absence could have on the presidential race. Most agree, however, that his sudden withdrawal from frontline politics has underlined a lack of leadership alternatives.
“The absence reveals even more clearly how dependent on the president the top leadership of the ruling party has become,” said Javier Corrales, a political scientist and Venezuela expert, from Amherst College in Massachusetts.
“The notion of a Chávismo without Chávez… seems to be inconceivable for Chávistas.”