Obviously the big dictator news of the day is the death of Muammar Gaddafi. Though, Gaddafi's close ally in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, chose today to make a big public announcement that he's free of cancer. Not that the announcement is likely to do away with chatter about his health.
In his announcement today on national TV, Chavez claims an MRI and other tests showed that "there are no malignant cells active in this body."
"A vital stage has concluded. Everything went perfectly. I got top marks, 20 out of 20," he said in typical Chavez fashion before switching to the third person. "The new Chavez is back ... We will live and we will continue living."
Chavez has kept his illness cloaked in mystery. He completely disappeared in June, only to announce that he was in Havana to undergo a surgery to remove a tumor from his pelvic region. The type of cancer has still not been revealed. Chavez has undergone chemotherapy, leaving him noticeably bald and bloated ever since.
However, Chavez and his government have been proactive in trying to dismiss reports of his failing health. He even released an exercise tape of sorts and announced his intentions to rule over Venezuela until at least 2031.
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Back in September, El Nuevo Herald reported that Chavez was rushed to the hospital after kidney failure. Chavez denied such claims.
Chavez will stand for reelection next year, a fact that undoubtedly has caused Chavez to downplay worries about his health.