Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced that he will undergo another surgery in Cuba as his cancer has returned.
The 58-year-old made the announcement on television from the Miraflores presidential palace on Saturday night and said more malignant cells had been found which made further treatments "absolutely essential". He returned from Cuba the previous day where he was completing his last course of treatment.
"Unfortunately, during these exhaustive exams they found some malignant cells in the same area. It is absolutely necessary, absolutely essential, that I have to undergo a new surgical intervention," Chavez said.
"With God's will, like on the previous occasions, we will come out of this victorious."
For the first time, Chavez also hinted about the future of the leadership in his country if his disease gets worse. He said his successor will be Vice-President Nicolas Maduro if a new election has to be held.
"We should guarantee the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution," said Chavez.
The Venezuelan president has been undergoing treatment for cancer for the past one and a half years and has had surgery for the condition more than once. However, very few details of his medical condition or the type of cancer he is suffering from have been made public.
Chavez was re-elected as president of Venezuela for a third time in October.