In a televised speech tonight Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez admitted that doctors removed "carcinogenic cells" from a tumor on his body.
The Venezuelan leader, who has been in the Cuban capital of Havana since undergoing surgery over two weeks ago, mentioned that he underwent a second procedure "that permitted the extraction of the tumor." Chavez emphasized that he is in recuperation and following "strict" orders from the Cuban medical team overseeing his condition. He also thanked all the well wishes he has received from supporters in Venezuela and abroad.
During his appearance that aired on Venezuelan state TV, Chavez appeared thinner and read from a prepared statement. This will likely fuel criticism by the Venezuelan opposition against the government who they accuse of a lack of transparency and trying to cover up information on Chavez' health.
In order to try to quell worries over Chavez' health, the government published two recent videos of him including one where he is with ex-Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Venezuelan officials on Wednesday postponed a Latin American and Caribbean summit that was supposed to be held on Margarita Island next week. It appears highly likely that Chavez will not return to his homeland on Tuesday in order to celebrate the Venezuelan bicentennial.
Online Sources - El Universal (Venezuela and Mexico), 2001.com.ve, BBC News, CNN, LAHT
Image Source - AFP via BBC News