President Chávez sets off for Havana
The Venezuelan Head of State bid farewell and expressed confidence in getting along with this "new battle" for his health
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez left early Monday to Havana, Cuba, to undergo a new operation intended to counter the outbreak of new cancer cells, as he stated on Saturday evening.
State-run news channel TeleSur aired the specifics of the president's departure around 1:27 a.m.
The Head of State flew from Simón Bolívar International Airport at Maiquetía.
Chávez claimed to have faith in his recovery. "God willing, we will get out victorious from this new battle," the channel posted in its webpage on Monday, after 3:00 a.m.
It was noted that the president reiterated that he is keenly aware of the risks; therefore, "he made an appeal for unity of the Venezuelan people to ensure the progress of the Bolivarian Revolution," Telesur reported.
The Venezuelan National Assembly unanimously approved on Sunday afternoon the permit for Chávez's travel to Havana. The day before in a TV and radio obligatory simultaneous broadcast, Chávez explained that following his latest check, the specialists decided that "it is necessary, absolutely necessary, absolutely indispensable to perform a new surgery. And that must occur in the upcoming days."
Making provision, in the event of any untoward effect, the Head of State relied on his Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduro, viewed by many political experts as the successor.
"My firm, full, irrevocable, absolute, total opinion is that in such scenario, which would result in a call for a new presidential election, you should elect Nicolás Maduro as president of the Bolivarian Republic," he strongly recommended on Saturday.
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.