On slow news days...the media get consumed by anything about Hugo Chavez...like they do anytime Fidel Castro goes unusually silent...and is proclaimed...muerte.
So...a statement that Hugo is again returning to La Habana for treatments...is getting big coverage.
But his absence for 12 days from all public appearances has again fueled rumors about the return of his cancer.
Chavez, 58...won another 6-year presidential term by 10 points in October...against a unified opposition and an attractive young candidate.
His new statement claims he is free of cancer...but that his doctors feel he needs 'new special treatment with several sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and physiotherapy.'
Chavez was first treated for a still undisclosed cancer in Cuba in June 2011...and has returned there several times for extended periods.
ALSO: in Reuters...Hugo's return to Cuba rattles Caracas.
Congress gives him open ended return...but 10 January is swearing-in.
VP Maduro has coveted succession position.
Bocaranda speculates about hyperbaric treatments.
Investors react to bonds.
AND: Bloomberg recently reported about Chavez's dire need of $usd...as his currency... the Bolivar...plunged to new lows on the black market...at 14.79 per usd...vs the 2 official rates of 5.3/4.3 per usd.
Experts predict new $usd bond sales. It last sold $usd bonds in 2011.
Chavez last devalued the Bolivar by 40% in December 2010.
SEE ALSO: ANALYSIS by Andrew Cawthorne: 'black market surge presages devaluation.'