The PJ Tatler

More Cuban Cancer Surgery for Chavez

If you recall the beginning of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s cancer battle, he handled it by disappearing until someone noticed that his eight-hour rants weren’t filling their Sunday TV screens anymore and started asking questions. Chavez had a “baseball-sized” tumor removed in June, received some chemo and announced he was cured despite underground reports to the contrary. El Universal reports today that he’s going to go under the knife again in Cuba for a new lesion at the location of the tumor:

“Nobody can say from a scientific point of view that that new lesion is malignant; however, it is highly likely that the lesion is cancerous, because it is in the same area where the doctors removed a large tumor,” Chávez told state TV network Venezolana de Televisión in a telephone call.

This is the reason why the Venezuelan Head of State said that he will undergo a new surgery not later than this weekend.

…”It will be in the same place, everything is set up. Here (in Caracas) a lot of things would have to be implemented. Over there (in Havana) there is more security for this kind of operation. They will be the same doctors, the same equipment, and this will be better for all,” the Venezuelan Head of State noted.

Chávez cited that after the removal of the lesion, pathological tests will determine if it is malignant or not. If it is a cancerous tumor, he will need radiation therapy. “I will have to rest,” Chávez conceded. He announced that he will be out of public sight for the coming weeks and he will have to rethink his personal agenda.

The Venezuelan President also commented that he will have a meeting with the Cabinet, the armed forces and leaders of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on Wednesday.

From Chavez’s history of health reports, you can extrapolate the severity of what he’s actually letting on accordingly. My former colleague Roger Noriega, who has his ear to the ground with some excellent sources, last year predicted that due to the fast-spreading cancer Chavez wouldn’t live beyond Venezuela’s presidential election this October. Chavez has refused to drop out of the race, and complained in December that “Roger Noriega wants me to die.”

“That’s not quite true,” Noriega, former OAS ambassador and assistant secretary of State in the Bush administration, wrote in response. “Even less true is Chávez’s unbelievable assertion that four rounds of chemotherapy left him ‘without a single carcinogenic cell’ in his body. Chávez is forced to make such an absurd claim—insulting the intelligence of 30 or so statesmen and 30 million Venezuelans—in a desperate effort to give his corrupt cronies an advantage as they try to hold things together after his impending death.”