Chavez commutes to Cuba again for cancer treatment

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By Diego Brozzon

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez recently traveled to Cuba for another round of radiation treatment on April 7. Less than a week back in Venezuela, Chavez made a last-minute decision to return to Cuba for treatment.

The president of Venezuela has gone to the communist island for treatment three times, with April 7 being the most recent. Chavez stated that his stay in Cuba will be longer than expected.

Chavez began radiation treatment in Cuba in late March after undergoing an operation in February that removed a second tumor from his pelvic region. The first was taken out last June.

Some details of his illness are still unknown, such as the type of cancer and the precise location of the tumors.

Chavez claims that while his current condition affects his strength, it’s nothing too serious and that he is still doing well. He plans to run for office again in October, making for his fourth victorious election.

“Since we’re going to enter the last phase of treatment, which is rough…I’m thinking of asking for permission not to return in the middle of the week next week, but stay in Cuba all of this next week to receive the complete treatment and not have to be going and coming,” he said.

With regards to how this might affect the upcoming elections, Venezuelan student Juan Carlos Diaz ‘15 said, “It could go either way. If Chavez continues treatment and decides to run again, the people might see him as a martyr and his popularity will rise enough for him to win. If his condition gets worse, the opposition party, which is now a coalition of all the parties against Chavez’s socialist party, might have a chance of winning. Not only are they more organized this year, but Chavez will frequently be out of the country for treatment, meaning fewer national addresses.”

When asked if he thinks that this will be Chavez’s last term, Diaz said, “So far it’s hard to tell. There is one thing that’s certain: if he does win the election again, he will probably remain as president until a coup—like the one in 2002—or until he dies.”­

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