Hugo Chávez Says He Has Cancer

Reveals he had a tumor the size of a baseball removed in June

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez says he has Stage II cancer and could need chemotherapy or radiation, the BBC reports. Chávez, 56, did not reveal what kind of cancer he has, but explained that Cuban doctors removed a large tumor from his body in June. "I had a big, big tumor," Chávez told state TV. "When I saw that image, I said, 'My God, it's a baseball."'

Though he's cut back his workload on doctors' orders, Chávez plans on running for reelection next year. In his interview, he brushed aside rumors that he was deathly ill: "My colon and stomach aren't destroyed like the opposition is saying. Today cancer isn't death." He has no apparent successor. The Wall Street Journal's Mark Gongloff reports that the credit-ratings agency Moody's says Chávez's cancer creates uncertainty about Venezuela's economy -- though it'd be hard for the country's foreign currency rating to drop much lower. "Moody's writes that Chavez remaining in power would be good news for the country's credit in the short term, but bad news in the longer term."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.