President Hugo Chavez has asked if the US government might somehow be responsible for the rash of cancer cases among Latin American leaders.
The Venezuelan President has long questioned whether the US could be plotting to oust him, but his latest remarks went far beyond such theories. He referred to the cancer diagnosis of the Argentinian President, Cristina Fernandez, and noted that he and the leaders of Brazil and Paraguay have also struggled with the illness recently.
Mr Chavez stressed he was not accusing the US and didn't have any proof. But he asked: "Would it be strange if they had developed a technology to induce cancer and no one knew it?"