Lifestyle & Belief

Chavez doctor flees Venezuela after cancer comments


Hugo Chavez salutes his people.


Juan Barreto

A Venezuelan doctor who said President Hugo Chavez would die of cancer within two years has fled the country.

Dr Salvador Navarrete on Friday said he left with his family because he fears for his life.

Read more on GlobalPost: Hugo Chavez says he's cancer free

According to the BBC, colleagues said police had visited Dr Navarrete's office after his comments were last week published in the media.

The BBC reported:

In an open letter published by Venezuelan newspapers on Friday, Dr Navarrete claimed that police had searched files and computers at his office and he had been forced to flee the country with his family to an undisclosed location.

Dr Navarrete attended Chavez a decade ago and has reportedly remained in touch with some of his family and members of his medical team.

Reuters reported that Dr Navarrete's comments, published in the Mexican magazine Milenio, that the president had a sarcoma, a serious cancer in the pelvis, caused uproar in Venezuela.

Dr Navarrete said:

I'm worried that the president and those around him do not know the full magnitude of his illness given it has been handled with complete secrecy.

But on Thursday, Chavez returned from a medical check-up with doctors in Cuba saying that he had been cured, and his body was free of malignant cancer cells.

Chavez says he is well enough to contest the 2012 presidential elections.