Chavez Admits To Having Cancer Surgery
4:04am 1st July 2011
(Updated 8:04pm 1st July 2011)
Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez has admitted he has undergone an operation to remove cancerous cells from a tumour, but added he was on the road to full recovery.
He made the announcement on TV after having surgery in Cuba and came after mounting speculation over the severity of his condition.
The 56-year-old leader admitted it had been his second operation following an initial procedure on June 10, in which a pelvic abcess was removed.
He said the medical process was "slow and careful" but he was recovering, adding his situation was a "new battle that life has placed before us".
It was unclear however what type of cancer Mr Chavez was treated for.
He said it had been a "fundamental error" to not have taken better care of himself through medical checks.
He added he was determined to "overcome" the battle for his health and ended his speech with the revolutionary slogan: "Until victory forever."
Mr Chavez did not say how much longer he expected to remain in Cuba recovering.
Fans and critics alike had been analysing earlier footage of Mr Chavez for clues to his health.
Rumours about his condition circulated after a regional summit he had been due to host was scrapped.
Analysts also said his prolonged absence was fuelling tensions between factions in his ruling socialist party.
Hours after the release of new video of the president walking and chatting with his friend and mentor, Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuela cancelled a July 5-6 summit coinciding with its 200th anniversary of independence.