Chavez to receive chemotherapy in further cancer treatment in Cuba

Chavez to receive chemotherapy in further cancer treatment in Cuba

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez plans to fly to Cuba Saturday for further cancer treatment that is to include chemotherapy, DPA reported.

The 56-year-old left-wing populist said Friday that he had asked the National Assembly for permission to leave for Cuba, where he received his initial treatment, which involved the removal of a cancerous tumor from his pelvic area June 20.

"I'm going to begin the second stage of this slow, complex process of recuperation," he said on state television. "The second stage will start with chemotherapy."

The National Assembly is to meet in special session Saturday to vote on Chavez's request. The majority of its members support the government, and approval was expected.

Details about his illness, such as what type of cancer he has, have not been disclosed, and Chavez, who has led Venezuela since 1999, did not say Friday how long he would be out of the country. He was absent for about three weeks for his initial treatment, returning to Venezuela July 4.

In an interview Wednesday, Chavez blamed himself for his health problems, including his weight, saying he had lost 14 kilograms and was approaching a goal weight of 85 kilos.

"I had weighed more than 100 kilos and looked like a tank," he said. "I was on the way to killing myself. I drank 40 cups of coffee a day and carried three telephones with me."

Since his return, he said he has followed a strict medical regimen and would restrict his public appearances to a minimum but emphasized he remains "in charge."

Before his illness, Chavez had been planning to run for re-election in 2012.

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