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Venezuela's Chavez says he needs cancer surgery again, names VP successor if illness worsens

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 8:15 am

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is heading back to Cuba on Sunday for more surgery for cancer, announcing on television that the illness has returned after two previous operations, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Chavez acknowledged the seriousness of his situation in an address Saturday night, saying for the first time that if he suffers complications Vice President Nicolas Maduro should take his place as Venezuela's leader and continue his socialist movement.

"There are risks. Who can deny it?" Chavez said, seated at the presidential palace beside Maduro and other aides.

"In any circumstance, we should guarantee the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution," Chavez said.

Outside medical experts said that based on Chavez's account of his condition, he is facing a very difficult fight against an aggressive type of cancer.