Chavez says he will undergo surgery after doctors detect lesion

Venezulan President Hugo Chavez said he was speaking out earlier than he'd planned because of the increasing speculation.

Story highlights

  • "I am in good condition to face this battle," Hugo Chavez says
  • Venezuelan president does not say where the new lesion was found
  • Doctors in Cuba detected it, Chavez says on state TV
  • Chavez said last year that treatment had cured him of cancer
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that he will undergo surgery to remove a lesion from the same area where doctors removed a cancerous tumor from his body last year.
Doctors in Cuba detected the lesion during a follow-up exam Saturday, Chavez said. He did not specify where the lesion was found but said it was roughly 2 centimeters in diameter.
"There will be a new operation to remove it and examine it to see if it is malignant or not," Chavez said, speaking on state television from a tractor factory in Venezuela's Barinas state.
The 57-year-old Venezuelan leader said there were no signs cancer had metastasized in his body.
"I am in good physical condition to face this battle," Chavez said.
The revelation came as speculation surged over the his health.
Rumors swirled on social media Monday after journalist Nelson Bocaranda, without naming sources, wrote that Chavez was in serious condition and doctors were treating him in Cuba.
The report drew ire from Venezuelan officials.
"Regarding the rumors, dirty war of swine," Information Minister Andres Izarra wrote in a Twitter post.
Diosdado Cabello, the president of Venezuela's National Assembly, sharply criticized the journalist Monday.
"Bocaranda is sick in his soul, does he want the Commander to die, or is someone paying him to write his lies?" he posted on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Chavez said he was speaking out a day earlier than he'd planned because of the increasing speculation.
"Since the rumors have been growing. ... I felt obligated to advance the information," he said.
"I totally deny what is circulating, that I have metastasis in the liver and I don't know where else, that the cancer has spread throughout my body, and that I am dying. No, no," Chavez added. "In contrast, and this is good news, the rigorous tests performed in Havana indicate that I have no metastasis anywhere."
Officials have not decided where or when the surgery to remove the lesion will take place, Chavez said.
"We have a few possibilities. What is certain is that it must be in the coming days," Chavez said.
In June, Chavez said doctors in Cuba had removed a cancerous tumor but did not specify what type of cancer it was.
Throughout his illness, the Venezuelan government has released few details about his health.
Officials initially said doctors had performed emergency surgery to treat a pelvic abscess and repeatedly denied media reports that Chavez had cancer.
More than two weeks later, Chavez announced on national television that doctors had removed a cancerous tumor.
He announced in October that treatment had cured him of cancer.