http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-06/sobbing-chavez-pleads-for-life-at-catholic-mass-in-home-state

Bloomberg News

Sobbing Chavez Pleads for Life at Catholic Mass in Home State

April 06, 2012

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president. Photographer:Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president. Photographer:Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wiped tears from his face as he pleaded for life in his fight against an undisclosed cancer at a Catholic mass in his home state of Barinas.

Chavez, speaking yesterday at the mass held for his health and broadcast on state television, said cancer is a “real threat” that takes many lives and that he has faith that he will win the fight against the disease.

Chavez, who returned April 4 from Cuba where he underwent a second round of radiation therapy, said he shed tears when he felt the hands of his parents, Hugo and Elena, touch him during the mass. His siblings also attended the service.

“If this was necessary, may it be welcome,” Chavez said, who wore a white T-shirt under a blue and white track suit. “But I ask God to give me life, however painful. I can carry 100 crosses, your crown of thorns, but don’t take me yet. I still have things to do.”

Chavez, who has undergone three operations as part of his treatment since June, will seek re-election in October in a bid to extend his 13-year rule until 2019. The government hasn’t disclosed any succession plans in case Chavez, 57, isn’t healthy enough to participate in the elections.

He may travel to Brazil for medical treatment after having a reaction to the radiation therapy, Merval Pereira, a columnist for O Globo newspaper reported yesterday, without saying where he got the information.

No Trip Planned

A spokeswoman at Venezuela’s Information Ministry, who isn’t authorized to comment, said Chavez didn’t have a trip to Brazil on his agenda.

Chavez is also having intestinal problems, which might be a sign the cancer is spreading, Pereira added.

Brazilian and Venezuelan doctors have clashed with Cubans on the medical team over whether radiation therapy is the appropriate treatment for Chavez, Nelson Bocaranda, a journalist who frequently reports developments on the president’s health in absence of details from the government, wrote yesterday on his blog.

Chavez received a phone call from former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on April 3 in which the Venezuelan leader said he would like to visit Brazil soon to meet with Lula and President Dilma Rousseff, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent by e-mail.

Chavez said on April 4 his body had no adverse reactions from the radiation treatment and that all tests showed his recovery was going well after arriving in Venezuela.

To contact the reporters on this story: Corina Pons in Caracas at crpons@bloomberg.net; Jose Orozco in Caracas at jorozco8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net


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