Chávez Flies to Cuba for Surgery

    Image #: 17043827    Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez waves as he boards the plane with his daughter Rosa before his departure to Cuba, in Caracas February 24, 2012. Rallying supporters with folk tunes and jokes, Chavez bade an emotional farewell while supporters prayed for him around Venezuela ahead of Friday's planned departure for cancer surgery in Cuba.   REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH)       REUTERS /JORGE SILVA /LANDOV

    Jorge Silva, Reuters / Landov

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez flew to Cuba again on Friday, this time not simply for cancer treatment but for surgery, after he gave an emotional farewell to his supporters in Caracas. “I will fight for my life,” Chávez told the crowd, which consisted of people both cheering the leader and weeping. Chávez’s illness has thrown into doubt the certainty of the Oct. 7 election, although he has vowed to run again. “With cancer or without cancer, with rain, thunder or lightening, nothing and nobody can prevent the great victory of Oct. 7,” Chávez said. Since taking power in 1998, Chávez has not groomed any successors and even his strongest political opponents lack his charisma. The 57-year-old has said he may need radiotherapy after the surgery to remove a likely malignant lesion.

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