Chavez Going Back to Cuba for 2nd Round of Chemo, Offers Gadhafi ‘Big Hug’


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday that he has asked legislators to give him permission to return to Cuba for a second round of chemotherapy for his cancer.

The National Assembly's secretariat announced that the body would hold a special session Saturday to vote on authorization for Chavez to leave the country.

The president said Venezuela is stable and people should be confident about the government during his absence.

Chavez, who said earlier in the day that his doctors were considering whether he should undergo the chemotherapy in Venezuela or in Cuba, said he planned to go to Cuba on Saturday after getting legislative approval.

He said he would undergo medical tests there on Sunday and Monday.

"There is no complication in the process," he said.

Chavez, 57, said earlier Friday on television that he had no plans to withdraw from the public eye while undergoing the chemotherapy. But he said he would have to lower his "public profile a little."

He underwent surgery in Cuba in June to remove a tumor from his pelvic region. He has not disclosed what kind of cancer was found.

Chavez also said Friday he has written embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi offering him "a big hug" and denouncing NATO's "imperial" attacks on Libya.

"The proud, gracious and merciful God bless and keep you. May he bless and protect the heroic and dignified people of Libya," Chavez read from his letter to Gadhafi during a live broadcast on VTV, the national news channel.

"Moammar, a big hug with an infinite sense of brotherhood," he said.