(AFP) – Jul 15, 2011
BRASILIA — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will undergo new treatment for cancer in Brazil after his June operation in Cuba, Brazil's official news agency reported Friday.
Chavez spoke with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to work out details of the treatment that will take place at a Sao Paulo hospital, reported Agencia Brasil, which did not indicate its sources.
Rousseff's office declined to comment on the report.
Chavez acknowledged Wednesday he may need chemotherapy for cancer, but he denied that a huge tumor "almost as big as a basketball" had spread to his colon or his stomach.
The 56-year-old firebrand leader was operated on last month in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. He remained on the Caribbean island for almost a month to recuperate before returning to Venezuela last week.
Since his return, Chavez has only made brief appearances on state television to try to scotch rumors of a power vacuum at the top as speculation has swirled that he has cancer of the colon or the stomach.
According to the Brazilian report, Chavez will be treated in the Siro Libanes hospital in Sao Paulo which specializes in cancer treatment, a facility where Rousseff herself was successfully treated for lymphatic cancer before she became president.
Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo has also been treated at the same hospital.
Unconfirmed reports said Rousseff held a meeting Thursday with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, to work out details on a treatment for Chavez.
The two presidents spoke last week by phone, a conversation in which Chavez thanked Rousseff for her wishes for recovery and the Brazilian leader said her country would have "an open door" if Chavez wanted to pursue treatment options.
During nearly a month in Cuba, Chavez underwent surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed -- but the Venezuelan public was kept in the dark about his cancer for weeks after the June 20 operation.
Chavez returned unexpectedly on July 4 to Caracas -- on the eve of bicentennial independence celebrations -- rallying a crowd with trademark gusto but speaking only for 30 minutes, a short address by his standards.
Suggestions of internal dissent emerged during Chavez's unprecedented absence from public life, his longest time away from the helm since becoming leader of Latin America's main oil producer in 1999.
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