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Venezuela's Chávez Will Return To Cuba For Medical Treatment

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks on November 1.
AFP/Getty Images
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks on November 1.

Venezuela's National Assembly has approved a measure that allows President Hugo Chávez to leave the country for medical treatment in Cuba.

Chávez, as we've reported, has been battling cancer for more than a year. His treatments and the secrecy surrounding his condition led some to wonder whether he could handle a rough reelection campaign. But he made a remarkable comeback and handily won another term in October.

Reuters reports:

"'Six months after I completed the last radiation therapy treatment, it has been recommended that I begin a special treatment consisting of various sessions of hyperbaric oxygenation,' Chávez wrote in a letter to the legislature read by congressional leader Diosdado Cabello, a Chávez ally.

"'Together with physical therapy, (this) will consolidate the process of strengthening my health.'

"Hyperbaric oxygenation involves breathing pure oxygen while in a pressurized chamber, according to the American Cancer Society."

Diario La Verdad notes that many in Venezuela saw this coming, because Chávez's public appearances had been scarce lately and his Twitter account, which is usually very active, fell silent November 1.

BBC Mundo says that the type of cancer or the severity of it is unknown. All that has been said is that it is located in Chávez's pelvic area.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.