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Chavez applauds as he is driven to the airport in Caracas on his way to Cuba for surgery AP Photo/Fernando Llano
hugo chavez

Hugo Chavez flies to Cuba for 'urgent' cancer treatment

The Venezuelan leader says he will still run in October’s presidential election despite the recurrence of his illness.

VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO Chavez has flown to Cuba for ‘urgent’ treatment for cancer.

The 57-year-old has not given more details on the type of cancer. He previously had a tumour removed from his pelvic area last June and he had finished his fourth round of chemotherapy in Cuba in September.

His website showed photos of the president arriving in Cuba at the weekend being greeted by Raul Castro.

He has said that he will still run in October’s presidential election despite his illness.

Before departing for Havana, Chavez spoke on state television and said that the cancer, which he said is ‘probably malignant’, needs to be treated urgently.

“I have faith that everything will go well,” Chavez said. “I say this from my gut: With cancer or without cancer… come rain, thunder or lightning… nobody can avoid a great patriotic victory on October 7,” the president said, adding: “Long live Chavez”.

Last year he used Twitter as a tool to govern remotely as he underwent treatment.  Chavez has not tweeted since last Wednesday when he responded to tweets from some of his 2.6 million followers.

The socialist leader raised eyebrows in December when he questioned whether the United States was behind the wave of cancer which struck some Latin American leaders in recent years.

- Additional reporting by Associated Press

Chavez wonders if US hatched cancer plot against Latin American leaders >

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