In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a sword that once belonged to independence hero Simon Bolivar at a meeting with his Cabinet, at Miraflores Presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Dec 10, 2012. Chavez met with his Cabinet Monday morning, prior to his departure to Cuba for a third cancer operation. For the first time, Chavez has designated a political heir, who said that if he suffers complications, Vice President Nicolas Maduro should be elected as Venezuela's leader to continue his socialist movement. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office, Marcelo Garcia)

Associated Press
In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a sword that once belonged to independence hero Simon Bolivar at a meeting with his Cabinet, at Miraflores Presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Dec 10, 2012.  Chavez met with his Cabinet Monday morning, prior to his departure to Cuba for a third cancer operation.  For the first time, Chavez has designated a political heir, who said that if he suffers complications, Vice President Nicolas Maduro should be elected as Venezuela's leader to continue his socialist movement. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office, Marcelo Garcia)
In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a sword that once belonged to independence hero Simon Bolivar at a meeting with his Cabinet, at Miraflores Presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Dec 10, 2012. Chavez met with his Cabinet Monday morning, prior to his departure to Cuba for a third cancer operation. For the first time, Chavez has designated a political heir, who said that if he suffers complications, Vice President Nicolas Maduro should be elected as Venezuela's leader to continue his socialist movement. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office, Marcelo Garcia)
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