In recent months, Latin leaders, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez, Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, have all been diagnosed with cancer.

Simple coincidence — or an American plot?

According to Chavez, 57, it could be the latter. In a televised speech to troops at a military base on Wednesday, he called the occurrences “difficult to explain,” saying, “It would not be strange if [the Americans] had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now.”

He went on: “Fidel [Castro] always told me, ‘Chavez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what.’”

But lest anyone think he’s making wild, unfounded accusations, he was quick to add, “I don’t know. I’m just reflecting.”

While details about Chavez’s health remain a closely guarded secret, he seems to be recovering from cancer treatment. The hair he lost from chemotherapy is growing back, he’s been making longer televised appearances, and earlier this month he traveled to a regional summit in Uruguay, his first official foreign trip since having surgery.

[Reuters]