Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told his countrymen on Thursday night that he underwent a second surgery in Cuba for the removal of a cancerous growth.
Chavez said in a televised talk that the operation took out a tumour in which there were "cancerous cells”. He said the second surgery was done after an initial June 10 operation in which a pelvic abscess was removed.
He called his situation "this new battle that life has placed before us”.
It was unclear what type of cancer is involved or what Chavez`s treatment will be. He said it had been a "fundamental error" to not have taken better care of his health through medical checks.
"What a fundamental error," Chavez said.
Chavez did not say how much longer he expected to remain in Cuba recovering.
He said the first surgery was for a "strange formation in the pelvic region that required an emergency operation due to the imminent risk of a generalised infection”.
After that first surgery, Chavez said, doctors began to suspect other problems. A series of tests "confirmed the presence of an abscessed tumour with the presence of cancerous cells, which made necessary a second operation that allowed for the complete extraction of the tumour," he said.
Chavez said his condition has been "evolving satisfactorily while I receive a complementary treatment to combat the different types of cells found, and thereby continue on the path to my complete recovery."
His appearance came after government efforts, including Tuesday`s release of photos and video showing Chavez with Fidel Castro, failed to quell growing speculation among Venezuelans that he may be seriously ill.
His aides and family had tried to assure the country that the socialist President was recovering well from his surgery for the pelvic abscess, but they provided no details about his condition and gave no specific time for his return home.
There was no information on when and where Chavez`s message was recorded.