Chávez skips Americas Summit, heads to Cuba for radiotherapy
Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, will not be participating in the VI Americas Summit which began today in Cartagena and is set to travel to Cuba in order to continue his radiotherapy treatment, Venezuela foreign minister, Nicolás Maduro informed today.
The 57-year-old socialist leader said on Friday his doctors had not yet decided whether he was fit enough to visit the "Summit of the Americas" en route to a fourth session of radiation therapy in Havana.
"On the recommendation of his medical team, President Chavez decided not to attend this event," Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told reporters in Cartagena at the meeting of about 30 heads of state, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
"Today he leaves for Havana to continue to his treatment, which is going excellently," Maduro said.
An appearance at the summit would have been a show of strength for Chavez, who has undergone three cancer operations in less than a year. Very little official information has been given about his health, including what type of cancer he has.
It would also have delighted his supporters by giving Chavez - who once at the United Nations called former U.S. President George W. Bush "the devil" - the chance to challenge Obama in front of dozens of other leaders.
Despite his illness, Chavez is campaigning hard to win a new six-year term at an election on October 7 that is shaping up to be the toughest political fight of his 13 years in power.