Monday, July 4th 2011 - 17:22 UTC

In a surprise return Chavez is back in Venezuela singing and saying he’s “fine”

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez made a surprise homecoming on Monday after cancer surgery in Cuba and declared himself “fine” despite speculation he may still require lengthy treatment.

The Venezuelan president at the airport with Monday's newspaper (Photo: AP)

“Here I am, home and happy! Good morning, my beloved Venezuela,” a bubbly Chavez said, punching his fist in the air and singing a folk song after touching down in the early hours. “Now I'm going to get some rest”.

With their 'Comandante' back on Venezuelan soil, groups of delirious supporters took to the streets of Caracas within minutes, chanting: “He's back! He's back!”

Chavez's return changes the political dynamics once again in Venezuela, where politicians on all sides had been bracing for a protracted months-long absence of the man who has dominated the country’s politics for the last 12 years.

The famously unpredictable 56-year-old president jetted in just in time for two days of celebrations of Venezuela's 200th anniversary of independence from Spain.

Many Venezuelans had thought Chavez's convalescence after two operations last month in Cuba -- one to remove a cancerous tumor -- would keep him in Havana for weeks, possibly months.

State media showed video footage of Chavez bidding farewell to Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana and then being greeted by ebullient ministers at Maiquetia airport outside Caracas.

“I'm fine. I feel well,” Chavez said.

“I'm back at the epicenter of Bolivar,” he added, in reference to his idol, Simon Bolivar, a hero of Venezuela's and South America's fight for independence from Spanish rule.

Despite euphoria among supporters, Chavez's exact condition remains unclear, and he may still face lengthy treatment in Venezuela. A military hospital was prepared for his arrival.

Chavez said it was “the start of the return”, implying to some analysts that he may stay low profile in Venezuela or even return to Cuba for further cycles of treatment.

Sounding ecstatic, Vice President Elias Jaua called on supporters to go to the Miraflores presidential palace Monday afternoon to give Chavez a welcome reception.


14 comments Feed

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1 Think (#) Jul 04th, 2011 - 05:52 pm Report abuse
With his 'Comandante' back on Venezuelan soil, a delirious Think went outsdide and, facing Caracas, thousands of km. away he chanted: “He's back! He's back!”
2 Pedro (#) Jul 04th, 2011 - 08:52 pm Report abuse
Cristina must also be deliriously happy that Comrade Chaves is back. Its election time you know - without Comandante coming back, where would the next misterious million dollar suitcase come from?
3 jerry (#) Jul 04th, 2011 - 10:13 pm Report abuse
Maybe she will just borrow it “under the table” from her friend Shocklender. He seems to have plenty!
4 Redhoyt (#) Jul 04th, 2011 - 11:20 pm Report abuse
The Dictator is back !
5 Think (#) Jul 04th, 2011 - 11:37 pm Report abuse
We are all “Dancing in the Streets”
6 Sergio Vega (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 02:20 am Report abuse
Except the poor Venezuelans.....that are trying to live as they deserve with.... honor and peace.
7 axel arg (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 07:39 pm Report abuse
REDHOYT. The dictator is back.
It's lamentable how ignorant and misinformed are planty of you, and finaly you buy all the partial information that you read in the websites of your countries.
You can desagree with chaves's policy's, in my case i would never vote him surelly, but only an ignorant like you can call dictator some one who was elected by the popular vote in diferent oportunities, if venezuela is living a dictatorship, ¿how is it posible that most newspapers and chanels are against chave's government?, ¿what is what can't be told in venezuela?, let me remind you that during our dictatorship, all the chanels were in the hands of the junta, the censure was used all the time, in fact only the buenos aires herald, and diario la prensa denounced the cases of desapeared people, the directors of those newspapers had to inmigrate from argentina because they were threathened, that's a dictatorship, not chave's government, learn it, and dont keep on being so ignorant.
8 ElaineB (#) Jul 05th, 2011 - 08:38 pm Report abuse
LOL! @7 You are saying that the Argentine dictatorship was better than other dictatorships? : )
9 Redhoyt (#) Jul 06th, 2011 - 02:17 am Report abuse
Gaius Julius Caesar was a populist. And a Dictator.

There is no democracy in Venezuela, it is regarded as a 'hybrid regime' and the army has made it very clear that there is only one candidate for President.

Benign/populist ..... a Dictator just the same.

Open your eyes!
10 Think (#) Jul 06th, 2011 - 03:20 am Report abuse
(9) Hoyt

The ballots of Venezuela contradict you repeatedly.......
Be a good democrat and accept the ballots.....
You are a democrat?
Are you?
11 Redhoyt (#) Jul 06th, 2011 - 05:34 am Report abuse
I AM a good democrat Think .... it's making sure that the turnips get the right answer that is the problem :-)

But balanced ballots require a level playing field and it is not I who has concluded that Venezuela has no democracy. 'Hybrid Regime' is just another term for 'Clever Dictatorship'.
12 Think (#) Jul 06th, 2011 - 05:53 pm Report abuse
(11) Redhoyt

”Balanced ballots require a level playing field” you say.
That’s exactly what’s happening today in South America.

The 70 - 80% of our population, the poor, the indigenous, the workers are leveling the playing field and voting their leaders in through free, fair and peaceful, democratic elections.

It’s happening in Venezuela.
It’s happening in Ecuador.
It’s happening in Peru.
It’s happening in Uruguay.
It’s happening in Brazil.
It’s happening in Paraguay.
It’s happening in Argentina.
It will definitely happen again in Chile in 2014.
And our long lost brother, Colombia, is not so far away any more.

Get used to it!
13 axel arg (#) Jul 06th, 2011 - 08:14 pm Report abuse
ELAINE B. What i wanted to express is that there is not any dictaorship in venezuela, you can desagree with chave's policies but no body can say that the country is living a dictaorship, i already explained why.
REDHOYT. This is evident that you never lived any dictatorship, you only have the tipical ignorant argument that rejects populisem, chaves is not the only one candidat, there are candidats in the oponent politic parties, but we should wonder why, in spite that chaves is a very controvertible politician, he still wins the elections, it's a very interesting issue to study.
Beside none dictator is going to call to a referendum like he did, i insist also that a dictatorship doesen't have all the media agains it's government, learn it, we lived true dictatorships in argentina, not venezuela.
14 Think (#) Jul 06th, 2011 - 09:10 pm Report abuse
I forgot Bolivia!

It’s happening in Venezuela.
It’s happening in Ecuador.
It’s happening in Peru.
It’s happening in Bolivia.
It’s happening in Uruguay.
It’s happening in Brazil.
It’s happening in Paraguay.
It’s happening in Argentina.
It will definitely happen again in Chile in 2014.
And our long lost brother, Colombia, is not so far away any more.

Get used to it!

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