Monday, July 18, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.
After less than two weeks back in Venezuela, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has flown back to Cuba
for cancer treatment, according to the Associated Press.
The leader initially vanished from public view after getting emergency surgery in Havana for what was originally called a "pelvic abscess" on June 20; Chávez has since gone on to describe it as a cancerous tumor the size of a baseball
, but details regarding his condition are almost non-existant. It's unknown what type of cancer he has, and how long this round of treatment will last.
Chávez placed Vice President Elías Jaua and Minister of Finance Jorge Giordani in charge of carrying out his orders
, according to the Guardian
, though Chávez retains control of the government and no interim president has been sworn in. Venezuela's constitution dictates that after 180 days, the vice president must be sworn in as president until the next election, the Guardian
reports, though it's unclear if Chávez could retain power remotely for that long. The country is struggling with, among other things, an electricity shortage, housing concerns and inflation that has ranked among the highest in the world
Chávez's absence, and who fills it, is of particular interest because of the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for late next year -- Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles trails Chávez by only a few points in polls, the Guardian reports, as does former Chacao mayor Leopoldo Lopez.
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