The Staggers 29 December 2011 Hugo Chávez: Is the US giving Latin American leaders cancer? The Venezuelan leader ponders whether the US could have "developed a technology to induce cancer". Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez, has been diagnosed with cancer -- and the news has been met with suspicion by Hugo Chávez. The Venezulan leader, who was treated for cancer earlier this year, wonders whether the US could be to blame. In a televised speech to soldiers at an army base, he said: Would it be strange if they had developed a technology to induce cancer, and for no one to know it? Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, and her predecessor, Lula da Silva, have also battled cancer in recent years. While Chávez was careful to say that he didn't want to "make any reckless accusations", he said that he finds the number of cancer cases "very, very, very strange". He noted that US government scientists had infected Guatemalan prisoners with syphilis and other diseases in the 1940s, which only came to light recently, and joked that he'd take extra care of the presidents of Bolivia and Ecuador lest they be struck down with cancer too. › In this week's magazine: And you thought 2011 was bad. . . Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman. Subscribe To stay on top of global affairs and enjoy even more international coverage subscribe for just £1 per month!