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Chavez wonders if US hatched cancer plot against Latin American leaders

The Venezuelan president insisted he was merely thinking aloud. It follows news that Argentina’s president is the latest Latin Americna leader to be diagnosed with cancer.

Chavez at a recent Mercosur summit in Uruguay
Chavez at a recent Mercosur summit in Uruguay
Image: Matilde Campodonico/AP/Press Association Images

VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO Chavez is not one to hold back when it comes to criticising the United States but he may have gone a bit too far in his latest musings.

The leftist-leader has pondered aloud as to whether the US may be behind a wave of cancer that has struck Latin American leaders in recent months and years.

A day after it was revealed Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had thyroid cancer, Chavez – himself recovering from cancer treatment earlier this year – speculated: “Would it be so strange that they’ve [the US] invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?,” the Guardian quotes him as saying.

He quickly pointed out that he was merely thinking out loud and was not making “rash accusations” but he noted the instances of cancer among leaders in the region was “difficult to explain using the law of probabilities,” according to BBC News.

As well as Fernandez and himself, allies such as Brazil’s former president Lula da Silva has undergone treatment for throat cancer while his successor Dilma Rousseff was treated for lymphoma cancer in 2009.

Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, also a Chavez ally, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2010 but after chemotherapy it is now in remission. Chavez joked that other regional allies should beware, Reuters reports.

“We’ll have to take good care of Evo. Take care Evo!” he said referring to Bolivian president Evo Morales.

It has long been thought that the US hatched plots to assassinate Cuba’s communist president Fidel Castro with declassified CIA documents revealing such plots in 2007.

Chavez, a close friend and confidante of Castro, went on to talk about warnings he had received from the now retired Castro: “Fidel always told me, ‘Chavez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what,’” he added.

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Hugh O'Connell

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