Chavez Faces Cancer Surgery in Cuba, Vows He’ll be Back

Andrew Cawthorne and Brian Ellsworth
December 11, 2012

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez flew to Cuba on Monday for cancer surgery, with a vow to return quickly despite conceding for the first time that the disease could end his 14-year rule of the South American OPEC nation.

“I leave full of hope. We are warriors, full of light and faith,” the ever-upbeat Chavez said before boarding the flight to Havana. “I hope to be back soon.”

Chavez, 58, pumped a fist in the air as he set off for the latest chapter of a tumultuous rule that has included a brief coup, persistent acrimony with the United States and frequent nationalizations, as well as wildly popular anti-poverty programs.

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