Chavez's Return To Cuba For Treatment Rattles Venezuela
By Andrew Cawthorne and Jeff Franks
CARACAS/HAVANA | Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:06am EST
(Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez flew into Cuba on Wednesday for cancer-linked medical treatment that revived questions about the viability of his socialist rule and left Venezuelans again guessing about his exact condition.
After weeks of scarce public appearances, Chavez, 58, announced in a letter on Tuesday that he was going to Havana for therapy known as "hyperbaric oxygenation" - a method used to reduce bone decay caused by radiation therapy. Communist Party daily Granma confirmed his arrival in Cuba.
In Havana, Chavez enjoys the friendship of past and present Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro, plus guaranteed privacy on the tightly controlled Caribbean island.
Venezuelans, who have been endlessly speculating about Chavez's cancer since it was discovered in mid-2011, were not sure what to make of the latest twist - debating whether it was normal post-radiation treatment or a serious downturn.