Chávez has cancer again; nominates VP for presidency if unable to rule
The Venezuelan president announced that he is to undergo a new cancer surgery. Therefore, he is returning to Havana, Cuba. In a mandatory nationwide radio and television broadcast he signed a letter requesting authorization from the National Assembly to leave Venezuela. He nominated Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro, who is now the acting president, as the candidate to the presidency in the event that he is unable to end his current term in office
In a mandatory nationwide radio and television broadcast, Chávez asked Venezuelans to vote Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan Executive Vice-President and Foreign Minister, in the event that he is unable to end his term in office or take office next January 10 for his new term (2013-2019). In such a scenario, a new presidential election has to be held, as provided for under the Venezuelan Constitution.
Chávez announced that he is traveling to Havana, Cuba, on Sunday, for a new cancer surgery. He explained that during his recent stay in the Caribbean island, where he received hyperbaric oxygen treatment, a number of tests were run. Such tests determined the recurrence of a cancer first diagnosed in mid-2010.
During his speech, Chávez signed a letter requesting authorization from the National Assembly to leave Venezuela for more than five days in order to receive medical treatment.
The news marked an ominous beginning, health-wise, of the year 2015: the Cardiovascular Surgery Unit at Hospital Clínico Universitario, one of the country's largest teaching hospitals, was to close completely on January 5 due to lack of medicines and surgical supplies. All patients who were waiting to be operated on were sent home. More than 10 patients waiting for surgery reportedly died there from lack of basic medical supplies in the two months prior to the closure.