CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he’s flying to Cuba to begin radiation therapy today, one month after undergoing surgery that removed a cancerous tumor.
That will put him in Cuba at the same time as Pope Benedict XVI, who arrives on the island on Monday after a visit to Mexico.
Chavez has been recovering from a Feb. 26 surgery in Havana that removed a tumor from the same spot in his pelvic region where another tumor was extracted eight months earlier.
“Tonight, I’m leaving for Havana,” he said in a televised meeting with aides Saturday. “I’ve decided, on the recommendation of my medical team and also my government political team, to begin now, as we’re going to begin on Sunday, radiation therapy treatment.”
Chavez described it as a “complement to the surgery that I underwent” last month.
The 57-year-old Chavez has not identified the type of cancer nor the location in his pelvic region where the tumors have been removed. After he was diagnosed with cancer in Cuba last year, Chavez underwent an initial surgery in June that removed a tumor the size of a baseball.
Chavez had said earlier this month that he would undergo radiation therapy but had not given details about when it would begin or where he would be treated.
Chavez is running for re-election in October and vows that his illness will not get in the way of that goal.