July 1 - Venezuela President Hugo Chavez confirms he underwent surgery in Cuba to remove cancerous cells. Julie Noce reports.
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez confirms he underwent surgery in Cuba to remove cancerous cells. EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL The speculation was right... Hugo Chavez explained his recent absence from the public Thursday during a televised address. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ SAYING: "They confirmed the existence of a tumorous abscess, with the presence of cancerous cells, which required a second operation to extract the tumor completely. We're talking about a major operation, that took place without complications, after which I have progressed satisfactorily." This was the first speech for Venezuelan president since undergoing surgery in Cuba earlier in the month that triggered widespread rumours he might be seriously ill. Soon after Chavez spoke, members of his administration pledged their loyalty and unity. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN VICE-PRESIDENT ELIAS JAUA, SAYING: "There is no time for sadness, but for reflection, for bravery and work and to face serenely this upcoming stage of recovery for president and commander Hugo Chavez." Chavez did not say when he would return to Venezuela and did not name a temporary substitute. Julie Noce, Reuters.