Hugo Chavez has cancerous tumour removed

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The Independent Online

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez told his countrymen that he underwent a second surgical procedure in Cuba for the removal of a cancerous growth.

Mr Chavez said in a televised talk that the operation took out a tumour in which there were "cancerous cells".

He called it "this new battle that life has placed before us".

It was unclear when his message was recorded.

Mr Chavez's appearance came as Venezuelans speculated that he may be seriously ill because of his long stay in Cuba, mainly in seclusion.

His aides and family had been seeking to assure the country that the socialist president was recovering well from his first surgery, an operation on June 10 reportedly to remove a pelvic abscess.

But the lack of details about his condition had fed widespread talk about his health.