Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is reportedly in satisfactory condition following surgery in Havana, Cuba to remove a cancerous lesion from his pelvic area, according to a statement delivered Tuesday afternoon by Vice President Elías Jaua: “The surgery was carried out as planned, obtaining a satisfactory result. President Chávez is in good physical condition,” he said.
This week’s procedure is the third surgery that President Chávez, 57, has undergone over the last year in his battle against an undisclosed variety of cancer. Prior to his disclosure last week that a new round of care was necessary, Chávez had proclaimed that his initial rounds of treatment were successful and that he was “cancer free.” News of the illness’ recurrence have raised new questions about the need for possible succession planning—should Chávez need to step down during his recovery—and Chávez’ ability to campaign for Venezuela’s October 7 presidential elections.
There is little certainty about who would replace Chávez if he is forced to leave office, as he has denied that any of his political allies are qualified to succeed him. Venezuela’s opposition leader and presidential candidate Henrique Capriles-Radonski has repeatedly stated his hope that Chávez will make a full recovery, while also criticizing the administration’s secrecy regarding the president’s illness.