Hugo Chávez confirmed Tuesday that he traveled to Cuba for medical tests, where doctors found a new lesion that will require surgery to remove.
“The test in Havana found a lesion in the same spot where the other tumor was removed one year ago,” Chávez said on state television.
The left-wing Venezuelan president traveled to Cuba over the weekend without notifying the public, fueling speculation about his health. Chávez reappeared on Tuesday, when state television broadcast his visit to the Veneminsk tractor factory in the Venezuelan state of Barinas.
The rumors about Chávez’s health began spreading when Nelson Bocaranda, a columnist at Venezuelan daily El Universal, posted an article to his blog and several tweets saying the president’s health had deteriorated and he had traveled to Havana to assess whether he needed surgery. Bocaranda based the reporting on unnamed sources in Miami and Cuba.
The report contradicted official accounts of Chávez’s health. The Venezuelan president has undergone four rounds of chemotherapy since his diagnosis in June and he has said since October that he is free of cancer.