‘US behind cancer in Latin American leaders’
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speculated late Wednesday that the US might have developed a way to give Latin American leaders cancer, after Argentina's Cristina Fernandez joined the list of presidents diagnosed with the disease.
It was a typically controversial statement by Venezuela's socialist leader, who underwent surgery in June to remove a tumour from his pelvis. But he stressed that he was not making any accusations, just thinking aloud.
"It would not be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now ... I don't know. I'm just reflecting," he said in a televised speech to troops at a military base. "But this is very, very, very strange ... it's a bit difficult to explain this, to reason it, including using the law of probabilities."
Chavez, Fernandez, Paraguay's Fernando Lugo, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff and former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have all been diagnosed recently with cancer. All of them are leftists.
Doctors say Fernandez has a very good chance of recovery. Her diagnosis was made public Wednesday. Chavez said other regional leaders should beware, including his close ally, Bolivian President Evo Morales. "We'll have to take good care of Evo. Take care Evo!" he said.
The 57-year-old is Latin America's loudest critic of US foreign policy along with Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro, and he frequently lashes out at what he calls the "Yankee Empire". "Fidel always told me, 'Chavez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat ... a little needle and they inject you with I don't know what,'" he said.
In his comments on Wednesday, Chavez also slammed Washington and its European allies for criticising Russia's recent parliamentary elections — and said they were planning the same thing for Venezuela's presidential election in October, when he will seek re-election. "They are crying fraud and saying the elections need to be re-run ... They're trying to destabilise no less than Russia, a nuclear power. That's the madness of the Empire," Chavez said.
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