Chavez to go to Cuba for medical treatment

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will travel to Cuba to undergo "special" medical treatment six months after his most recent session of anti-cancer radiation therapy.

Chavez Tuesday sent to the National Assembly a request for permission to leave the country immediately, legislative speaker Diosdado Cabello said.

"It has been recommended to me to begin special treatment consisting of several sessions of hyperbaric oxygenation that, along with physical therapy, continue consolidating the process of strengthening my health that I have been undergoing," said Chavez in his request, which was immediately approved by the assembly.

"I have been exercising due care about my health and assiduously complying with the ... treatment plan ordered by the medical team attending me," Chavez added, going on to say that he will remain in Cuba for an undetermined period.

Chavez said he will address the National Assembly Jan 10 to outline his government plan for the period 2013-19 after winning re-election in October.

The president, who in June 2011 was diagnosed with cancer that required him to undergo three separate operations in Cuba, conducted an election campaign that intensified its rhythm into the final stretch.

Since he won re-election Oct 7, Chavez has not presided over any public event and his public appearances have been reduced to a minimum.

The last time he appeared on television was Nov 15, when he headed a meeting with members of his Cabinet.

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