Chavez ponders on 'US cancer plot'
Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday questioned whether the United States could be giving cancer to Latin American leaders, after Argentina's Cristina Kirchner was diagnosed with the disease.
"Would it be that strange if they had developed technology to induce cancer without anyone knowing about it?" Chavez asked, without offering any evidence that such technology existed.
He made the allegation against his arch-foe in a speech in which he also expressed his "solidarity" with Kirchner, whose spokesperson said on Tuesday she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and would undergo surgery next week.
"It's very difficult to explain at this point," Chavez said at a ceremony for national armed forces broadcast by state media.
Even "with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America... it's strange, very strange", he said.
Kirchner said earlier on Wednesday that Chavez, who has himself waged a successful battle against cancer, was the first regional leader to call her to offer support.
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo have all been diagnosed with cancer in recent years.
Rousseff and Lugo say they are cancer-free. Lula is undergoing treatment.