Caracas, Venezuela (4E) – Venezuela’s Leftist President Hugo Chavez has designated Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his heir shortly after he confirmed the relapse of his cancer in a speech on national television.
He said that Cuban doctors detected the return of cancer cells during the medical examination in his last visit to the communist-ruled island, adding that he would leave for Havana on Sunday for next round of surgery.
“During this thorough examination, they again detected some malignant cells in the same area as before,” Chavez said without disclosing details.
The president only said that he was suffering severe pain and is on tranquilizers before going for the surgery. The doctors had first detected cancer in Chavez’ pelvic area.
Notifying the need of urgency in the operation, Chavez said that the doctors recommended him to operate on Friday itself. He added that he did not wait in Cuba and returned home after a 10-day stay in the communist-state only to announce appointment of Maduro, who could continue his socialist movement in case something happens to him. His term is due to expire in 2019.
Chavez was last seen in public more than three weeks ago.
For the first time, Chavez also spoke of his successor and urged Venezuelans to vote for Maduro, who has also been serving as foreign minister. “You choose Maduro as president of the republic,” Chavez told the nation. “He is a complete revolutionary, a great experience man with great dedication and capacity for work,” he added.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly (NA) approved Chavez’s petition to travel to Cuba for medical treatment. The parliament on Sunday sat for an extraordinary session in Caracas where a plenary of 165 congressmen unanimously approved the petition.