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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will undergo another cancer operation in Cuba today after doctors said more malignant cells had been found.

The socialist leader has travelled to the island for treatment on three previous occasions. He returned from a three week absence on Friday.

The new surgery raises doubts about his future after winning a new six-year term in office in October. He campaigned the election on the basis that he was free from cancer.

On Saturday Chavez told his supporters to vote for Vice President Nicolas Maduro if his health were to deteriorate. It was the first time the 58-year-old had named a successor.

Maduro, a former bus driver and trade unionist, has been a strong supporter of Chavez and has been at his side during the president’s cancer treatment.

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