Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez flew to Cuba Monday night to resume cancer treatment.
Citing images broadcast on official VTV television, AFP reported that Chávez departed alongside his eldest daughter Rosa Virginia.
In his first public appearance on Venezuelan soil since mid-April, Chávez said earlier Monday that his travel request was being considered by the national congress and that he expected to depart later in the day, The Wall Street Journal reported.
A Venezuelan head of state must get congressional approval to be absent from the country for more than five days.
"We are in the final treatments of radiation therapy," Chávez said during comments televised from the presidential palace. "These are not easy days." He added that he would return to Venezuela in a "few days" but didn't provided an exact date.
Chávez had previously said that he hoped his last stint in Cuba would mark his final sessions of radiation therapy. The ailing leader, who has not publicly identified the type of cancer he faces, arrived back in Venezuela Thursday after nearly two weeks in Havana.
Doctors in Cuba extracted a second cancerous tumor from Chávez's pelvic region in February, following a similar procedure in June of last year. Chávez has been commuting to Cuba every few days since the second operation to undergo treatment.
Opposition lawmakers in the Cuban parliament echoed many people's frustration with the tense political limbo, withholding their votes from his request for travel permission, which in any case was granted, AFP reported.
"I ask you, Mr. President, in the name of Venezuelans, to inform a medical board precisely what it is you have, so that the nation finally can find out," lawmaker Ismael García said, charging that Chávez's non-disclosure bred "constant stress" for the South American nation's people.
"We cannot keep standing here and raising our hands until we find out what we are dealing with, and how long the president has been told he has to live, because this is a matter of state," argued opposition legislator Carlos Berrizbeitia.
For more information, see The Wall Street Journal.