Chavez has months to live, doctor says
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has just months to live, a Venezuelan doctor said on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.
Venezuelan doctor Jose Rafael Marquina, who is based in the United States and is known for his accurate prognoses on Chavez's health, told RCN radio that Chavez has "between two and three months to live."
"The disease has entered an aggressive stage. He has metastases in the lumbar area, compressing nerves around the lumbar area of his backbone, which may lead to paralysis," said Marquina, who claims to have access to firsthand sources and information about the president's health.
Chavez announced on national television late on Saturday that he was flying to Cuba for new cancer surgery, and named Vice-President and Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro as his possible successor.
Chavez, 58, who has ruled Venezuela for 13 years, underwent three operations for cancer and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela within a year.
He said that recent tests had revealed malignant cells. Chavez, who was reelected for another six-year presidential term in October, said the pain he felt were due to strain during the election campaign and radiation therapy treatment, adding that surgery was vital, and an illness like this always carried risk.