Dec. 10 - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told his cabinet ''I leave you my heart, my gratitude and I hope to return soon'' before departing for Cuba for cancer surgery. Deborah Gembara reports.
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Before taking off for Cuba for cancer surgery, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez met briefly with his cabinet
SOUNDBITE: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez saying:
"I'm leaving but the high political authority, although I will not hand it over, I will delegate it and it is in good hands. Here is Nicolas (Maduro) and all of the political cabinet of the republic, and the high military authority is in good hands and so the republic is in good hands...I leave you my heart, my gratitude and I hope to return soon."
With that said, he headed for the airport.
The 58-year-old socialist leader is facing his fourth operation after an undisclosed form of cancer in the pelvic area. Over the weekend, he annnounced that malignant cells have been detected. Previously he said he was completely cured of cancer. His decision to name a successor, however, came as a surprise and seemed to underscore the seriousness of his condition -- one he made little mention of in his campaign to win the country's election just two months ago.
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