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Colombian President Diagnosed With Prostrate Cancer
235 days ago
(RTTNews) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday that he had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer and planned to undergo a surgery on Wednesday to remove the tumor.
He said in a nationally televised address that the tumor was minor and non-aggressive, noting that its early detection had given him a 97 percent chance of full recovery.
"I have carried out all the routine exams recommended by the doctors, and there has been an abnormal growth of the prostate specific antigen," Santos said.
Santos, 61, said the cancer was first detected by his doctor in Colombia and the diagnosis was confirmed during his trip to New York last week for attending the U.N. General Assembly.
"With God's help, this will turn out to be only one of those challenges we all have to face in life," he said, adding that the surgery does not require him to delegate any of his presidential responsibilities as it will be performed under local anesthetic.
Santos is the latest among several Latin American leaders to be diagnosed with cancer. His Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, former Paraguayan leader Fernando Lugo as well as former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his successor Dilma Rousseff have all undergone cancer treatment in the past year.
The latest development came amid preparations by Santos' government to begin peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in the Norwegian capital Oslo later this month.
FARC has been fighting the Colombian government for almost five decades, seeking to impose a Leftist regime in the country, which they believe would redistribute land more equitably among its impoverished population.
Santos' decision to resume peace talks with FARC signals a notable shift in policy from that of previous Colombian governments, which had steadfastly refused to engage in negotiations with the Leftist rebels.
Notably, Santos' predecessor Alvaro Uribe, who completed his term in office last August, had enforced strict security measures against the outlaws because of their continued attacks on military and civilian targets.
In an effort to show its commitment to peace talks with the government, FARC recently released the last remaining ten security personnel it had been holding hostage for years, and pledged to abandon kidnappings for money. But the rebel group is still said to be holding hundreds of civilian hostages.
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