Hugo Chavez’s battle with cancer: A timeline

Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hold banners and shout slogans in Caracas on Monday as Chavez is reported to return to the country.
(David Fernandez / European Pressphoto Agency)

Questions persisted Monday over how Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was faring as supporters cheered his reported return home from Cuba. Even as Chavez has undergone repeated rounds of surgery and chemotherapy, the kind of cancer he is suffering and where it is located have not been revealed. Here is a brief timeline of his illness:

June 10, 2011 – Chavez undergoes surgery for a “pelvic abscess” in Havana. Few details are released on his condition.


June 30, 2011 - In a brief recorded statement read over Venezuelan television, Chavez says he had surgery in Cuba for cancer, confirming the gravity of his illness. The first surgery to relieve the abscess led to a second one to remove the tumor, he says.

July 16, 2011 – Chavez returns to Cuba to begin chemotherapy. Over the next two months, he undergoes three more rounds of the treatment.

Feb. 21, 2012 – Chavez announces he will undergo surgery for a third time, repairing a 1-inch abscess in the same part of his abdomen where Cuban doctors removed a cancerous tumor.

Feb. 29, 2012 – The Venezuelan government says Chavez undergoes surgery in Cuba with “a satisfactory result” but does not say whether his cancer has spread.

July 9, 2012 – Chavez says he is completely free of cancer.

Oct. 7, 2012 - Chavez wins reelection to a fourth term as president, capturing 55% of the vote.

Nov. 27, 2012 – Chavez goes to Cuba, where he says he will undergo hyberbaric oxygen treatment, a method routinely used to heal tissues damaged by radiation treatment.

Dec. 9, 2012 – Chavez says his cancer has returned.

Dec. 11, 2012 - Chavez undergoes cancer surgery for the fourth time in Cuba. The lack of details about his condition adds to the political uncertainty in Venezuela.

Jan. 3, 2013 – The Venezuelan government announces that Chavez is suffering “respiratory deficiency” tied to a severe lung infection in the aftermath of surgery.

Feb. 15, 2013 - The first photographs of Chavez after his fourth surgery are released on state television, showing the president flanked by two of his daughters. The government says he is using a tracheal tube, making it difficult for him to speak, but his “intellectual functions” are intact.

Feb. 18, 2013 - Chavez returns from Cuba to Venezuela after a 10-week absence. Official word of his return to Caracas comes over his Twitter account.


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