Chavez to return to Cuba for medical treatment

Officials said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will travel to Cuba to continue medical treatment.

Story highlights

  • Hugo Chavez will return to Cuba for "medical treatments"
  • It is not clear what those treatments entail
  • The president says he is cancer-free, but some doubt that
  • His health has been a closely guarded secret

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will travel to Cuba to continue "medical treatments," officials said, leaving unclear whether the trip is a sign of a relapse of the cancer that has ailed him or is for a check-up.

Venezuela's national assembly on Tuesday voted to grant Chavez permission to travel to Cuba for the treatment, the state-run AVN news agency reported.

In October, Chavez was re-elected to a new term after having received treatment for cancer in preceding months.

Between June 2011 and May 2012, he underwent cancer treatment in Cuba, raising speculation about his political future and about a possible successor, especially when he named 10 people to his inner circle of advisers, known as the Council of State.

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But he declared himself cancer-free in July and went ahead with his campaign.

The status of his health, however, has been a closely held secret, and some individuals who claim to have insider knowledge say the president is in much worse condition than he publicly lets on.