Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez returned to his home country overnight after spending more than two months in Cuba.
Chavez underwent cancer surgery on December 14 and has not been seen or heard in public since, until photos of him were published on Friday.
The Venezuelan president took to Twitter early Monday morning, saying:
“We have arrived back in the Venezuelan fatherland. Thanks, my God! Thanks, my beloved people! Here we will continue the treatment.”
Reuters reports that Vice President Nicolas Maduro confirmed Chavez’s return, saying that he flew in at 2:30 am local time and was residing in a military hospital in Carcaras.
There was speculation that the president was not well enough to travel. Despite the rumors, he was able to return. He will undergo additional cancer treatment in Venezuela.
Hugo Chavez’s return to Venezuela will likely thrill his supporters. His ministers also praised his return, with Maduro adding, “We’re so happy.”
The Associated Press notes that Chavez went on to write:
“I’m clinging to Christ and trusting in my doctors and nurses. Onward toward victory always!! We will live and we will triumph!!”
The Venezualen president suffered complications from his cancer surgery in December, including an infection and massive bleeding. His advisers and Maduro have been solemn on state television when speaking about Chavez’s condition.
Chavez’s return also signaled some improvement in his condition, though aides have emphasized that his state remains “complicated.” When the photos were published on Friday, officials said that the president was breathing through a tracheal tube and struggled to speak.
Hugo Chavez’s surprise return was a typical move for the leader, who often combines theatrics with his presidency. The leader also thanked Cuban leaders Raul and Fidel Castro for his treatment in Cuba.