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Venezuela's Hugo Chavez returns to Cuba for chemotherapy

(Xinhua)

09:08, March 26, 2012

HAVANA, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez returned to Cuba late Saturday for a round of chemotherapy, local media said.

"Last night I underwent the first session of radiation therapy without any problems," Chavez was quoted as saying to Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua on the phone. He said he was scheduled for another session Sunday night.

Chavez arrived in Havana in "a very good mood," the official daily Juventud Rebelde (JR) reported Sunday, accompanying the story with a photo of Chavez and Cuban leader Raul Castro greeting each other with a hug at the airport.

Chavez is back in Havana only a week after returning home from the Cuban capital, where he spent 21 days recovering from surgery a month ago to remove a two-centimeter tumor from his pelvic area.

He is scheduled to undergo treatment until Wednesday, March 28, and said he will be back in Venezuela Thursday evening.

Since Chavez' cancer was diagnosed in June 2011, he has undergone three surgeries and four chemotherapy sessions in Havana.

Chavez has said he will run again in Venezuela's upcoming presidential elections on October 7, and claims that if elected his cancer will not impede him from ruling the country for another six-year term.

Chavez has served as president of Venezuela since 1999.

Cuba and Venezuela have become close political and economic allies spurred by the friendship between Chavez and Cuba's revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, whom Chavez calls "his political father."

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