Doctors reject claim that Chavez is dying

Doctors treating President Hugo Chavez for cancer have disputed a claim that he has only two years to live.

The claim was made last week by a surgeon, Dr Salvador Navarrete, who has fled Venezuela, saying that he feared for his life. Dr Navarrete said Mr Chavez, right, had a very aggressive form of cancer.

But a member of Mr Chavez's medical team insisted yesterday that Dr Navarrete was wrong and had no access to the President's clinical records. He added that Mr Chavez had never been Dr Navarrete's patient. "The President, from the standpoint of cancer, has been diagnosed and treated early," said Dr Fidel Ramirez. "Subject to the appropriate follow-up treatments, the current status is quite satisfactory with an excellent prognosis."

Mr Chavez, 57, returned from a medical check-up in Cuba last week saying he had been cured. AP