Hugo Chavez, the President of the South American republic of Venezuela, is reportedly returning to Cuba for more tests, after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor and four rounds of chemotherapy, a few months ago. Chavez was believed to have said that these tests will determine if any cancerous cells remain in his body.
The Venezuelan had previously described his treatment as successful. However, secrecy about his medical condition at the time prompted speculation that the illness may be worse than officially stated.
Four months ago I was in a very critical situation, said Chavez, as quoted in a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Thanks be to God, four months have passed and here I am, all in one piece and on my feet.
Chavez, who has held the post of President since 1999, said his illness would not stop him from standing for re-election. He added that during these weeks of rest, he had been preparing for the electoral campaign which starts in a few months. His running for re-election, Chavez added, would proceed regardless of what some people, especially members of opposing parties, might say and speculate about his health.
Speculation in Venezuela suggests that Chavez is not being specific about his cancer because he has prostrate cancer; something that could affect his erectile functions (as a result of both surgical and post-surgical treatment) and his macho image, causing him to become the target of jokes about his masculinity. Speculation also suggests that his illness could be testicular or penile cancer, both of which, again, could have adverse impacts on his macho image, according to a report from AFP.