Venezuela’s Chavez Completes First Round of Chemotherapy

Posted July 22nd, 2011 at 4:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Venezuela's president says he has “successfully” completed a first round of chemotherapy.

In a phone call carried live on state television Friday, Hugo Chavez said he was preparing for a second cycle of chemotherapy to “totally defeat and eliminate” all cancerous cells.

The 56-year-old president is in Cuba undergoing treatment after recent surgery to remove a tumor. Mr. Chavez has not said what kind of cancer he has and it is not clear how long he will be in Cuba this time. Also last month, Mr. Chavez underwent an operation on the island for what officials said was an abscess in his pelvic area.

After the national assembly approved his trip, Mr. Chavez delegated some of his powers to Finance Minister Jorge Giordani and Vice President Elias Jaua. The president has resisted calls from the opposition to temporarily hand over the presidency to the vice president during his absence.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Giordani said on state television that President Chavez will run for re-election next year, despite his medical issues.

Mr. Chavez has ruled the South American nation since 1999, and he has told Venezuelans he intends to remain in control of the country.