CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Saturday night that his cancer has returned and that he will undergo another surgery in Cuba.
Chavez, who won re-election on Oct. 7, also said for the first time that if his health were to worsen, his successor would be Vice President Nicolas Maduro.
"We should guarantee the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution," Chavez said on television, seated at the presidential palace with Maduro and other aides.
The president said that tests had shown a return of some cancerous cells and that he would return to Cuba on Sunday for the surgery, his third operation to remove cancerous tissue in about a year and a half.
He called it a "new battle."
The 58-year-old president first underwent cancer surgery for an unspecified type of pelvic cancer in Cuba in June 2011 and had another surgery last February after a tumor appeared in the same area. He has also undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Chavez made his most recent trip to Cuba on the night of Nov. 27, saying he would receive hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Such treatment is regularly used to help heal tissues damaged by radiation treatment.
Chavez said he has been coping with pain. He said that he was requesting permission from lawmakers to travel and that he hoped to have good news after the surgery.