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Chavez surgery unsettles Venezuela ahead of election

• Andrew Cawthorne and Daniel Wallis
 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's election rival wished him a fast recovery on Wednesday while allies closed ranks behind the "comandante" whose announcement of new surgery in Cuba revived doubts over his future. 

The 57-year-old socialist will head to Havana in the coming days for an operation on a possibly malignant lesion in the same area of his pelvis where he had a tumor removed last year.


With less than eight months before a presidential vote in the South American OPEC nation, Chavez's imminent departure for more delicate medical treatment has heaped uncertainty and emotion onto an already charged political atmosphere.

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