Brazilian official hints Chavez won't be at summit

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Associated Press

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 6 at 5:36 PM

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — An official in the Brazilian Foreign Ministry is hinting Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez will not attend a Mercosur trade bloc meeting in Brazil's capital Friday. That raises new questions about Chavez's health.

The official says the hotel reservation for the Chavez delegation has been canceled and his security team has left Brasilia.

The official insisted on not being quoted by name, saying Thursday that he wasn't supposed to speak on a matter that hasn't been made official by Venezuela. Venezuela's embassy has declined to comment.

Chavez spent much of the last 18 months under treatment for cancer and has said he's free of the disease. He traveled to Cuba last month for hyperbaric oxygen treatment that Venezuelan officials have said was meant to further restore his health.

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