It'll be his fourth in 18 months. Some supporters fear he's deteriorating. Official information about where his surgery will be conducted wasn't announced.
It's assumed to be at Havana's Medical Surgical Research Center (CIMEQ). It's Cuba's best equipped hospital. It provides world-class treatment. It's located west of the capital.
Under Venezuelan constitutional law, Article 233 states:
"The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position".and by recall by popular vote."
If the President is permanently unavailable to serve during his first four years, a new election will be held "by universal suffrage and direct ballot" within 30 days.
"Between pending election and inauguration, the Executive Vice President shall assume the Presidency."
"If permanent unavailability occurs during his last two years, the Executive Vice President shall complete the term of office."
Article 234 states:
"A President of the Republic who becomes temporarily unavailable to serve shall be replaced by the Executive Vice President for a period of up to 90 days, which may be extended by resolution of the National Assembly for an additional 90 days."
"If the temporarily unavailability continues for more than 90 consecutive days, the National Assembly shall have the power to decide by a majority vote of its members whether the unavailability to serve should be considered permanent."
Under Article 235, "The absence of the President of the Republic from the territory of Venezuela requires authorization from the National Assembly or the Delegated Committee, when such absence continues for a period exceeding five consecutive days."
Venezuela's National Assembly authorized all Chavez visits to Cuba for healthcare purposes. On Sunday, they approved his travel request unanimously.
On January 10, Chavez's new term begins. If he's unable to serve within 30 days, new elections will be called. Hopefully they won't be needed.
Chavez is young. He's 58 years old. If restored to full health, many active years remain. He expresses "complete faith" in his recovery. "God willing, like the" previous surgeries and treatment, "we will be victorious in this new battle," he said.
"If there's anything I would insist upon in this new situation, this new battle".is on strengthening national unity, unity of all the popular forces, the unity of all revolutionary forces".my beloved militancy, allied parties, revolutionary currents, unity, unity, unity."