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U.S. rejects Chavez cancer accusation

The Americas Post - Hugo Chavez seems to consider the US carcinogenic. Photo Credit: Reuters

The Obama administration has denounced Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for implying that the U.S. could be responsible for a rash of cancer cases among Latin American leaders.

The State Department on Thursday said Chavez’s comments were “horrific and reprehensible.” Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said they were not worthy of further response.

Chavez has long accused the U.S. government of plotting to overthrow him. But earlier this week he went far beyond that, saying it was very strange that he and the leaders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have struggled with cancer.

Recent years have seen a series of leftwing Latin America leaders diagnosed with cancer including Brazil‘s current president, Dilma Rousseff, Paraguay‘s Fernando Lugo, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez and the former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

In late June Chavez admitted being treated for cancer, telling Venezuelans that doctors had removed “cancerous cells” from his body.  He received treatment in Cuba.

He now says he wasn’t accusing the U.S. and doesn’t have any proof. But he asked, in his words, “Would it be strange if they had developed a technology to induce cancer and no one knew it?”

“I repeat: I am not accusing anyone. I am simply taking advantage of my freedom to reflect and air my opinions faced with some very strange and hard to explain goings-on,” he said on state television.