Bloomberg News

Chavez Leaves for Cancer Surgery in Cuba Amid a Hail of Petals

February 24, 2012

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Supporters threw flowers in front of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s motorcade today as he drove through Caracas on his way to Cuba for a third operation in his battle against cancer.

Images aired in a nationwide broadcast showed the self- declared socialist leaning out of the sun roof of his car and waving to supporters, some of them in tears.

“Cancer or no cancer, rain, thunder or lightning, nothing and no one will be able to stop the new patriotic victory in October 2012,” Chavez said outside the presidential palace before departing, referring to the presidential vote. “We are obliged to live and obliged to triumph in order to guarantee Venezuela’s peace.”

Chavez said Feb. 21 that tests undertaken during a previously unannounced trip to Cuba showed a lesion in the same area where a tumor was removed in June. It is “highly” probable that the growth is malignant, in which case it will need radiation therapy, he said. The president has vowed to recover from cancer in time to deal a “knockout” blow to his opponents in the Oct. 7 election.

Chavez, who said in October he was cancer-free following two operations and four rounds of chemotherapy, has refused to say what kind of cancer he has or allow access to his medical records.

--Editors: Philip Sanders, Richard Jarvie


To contact the reporter on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman

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