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Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to undergo more surgery

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez salutes before the start of a military parade to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his failed coup attempt, on Feb. 4 , 2012, in Caracas. Chavez announced on Feb. 21 he will undergo surgery in the coming days to remove a "lesion" in the same area where a cancerous tumor was removed in mid-2011.

President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that doctors in Cuba have found a new lesion in the area where he had cancer surgery last year, and he will require surgery.

"It is a small lesion of about 2 centimeters (less than 1 inch) in diameter, very clearly visible," Chavez told state television.


The announcement throws new uncertainty over the country's politics because the socialist leader is seeking re-election this year, hoping to extend his more than 13 years in power.

Related: Chavez allies attack new opponent Capriles as Jewish, gay

Chavez did not say when he would undergo the surgery, other than "in the coming days." He also failed to mention whether he'll travel to Cuba again for this procedure

According to Venezuela's El Universal newspaper, Chavez said he was in good physical condition to "face this new battle." He added he had decided to inform people of his condition to dispel recent rumors, which were triggered by the president's absence following a public appearance on Feb. 17. 

"I deny that I have metastasis ... that I'm dying," Chavez said

On Tuesday, he denied that the cancer had spread to his liver. He has never specified the cancer's exact nature or location.

Chavez, 57, said the new surgery should be less complicated than what he underwent in Cuba in June, when doctors removed a cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. From July to September, he received four rounds of chemotherapy, both in Cuba and in Venezuela, and he has since said that tests show he is cancer-free.

In recent weeks, Chavez has recovered the hair that he shaved while undergoing chemotherapy and has appeared vigorous, returning to his full schedule of activities, including marathon television appearances.

He has assured Venezuelans that he is in fine shape to gain what would be his fourth term in the Oct. 7 elections against opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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