Caracas, March 17 (IANS/EFE) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Friday via Twitter that he was returning to the Andean nation after spending three weeks in Cuba for cancer treatment.
“Good afternoon, good world! We are taking off right now from (Havana’s) Jose Marti International Airport. Headed South, Bound for the Motherland! Thank God!,” he tweeted.
Chavez went on to describe a lunch with Fidel Castro, who “Sent a giant embrace to the entire Venezuelan people! We Will Live and We Will Prevail!” and to recount that Cuban President Raul Castro – Fidel’s younger brother – came to the airport to see him off.
Chavez arrived in Havana Feb 24 for surgery to extract a lesion and the “surrounding tissue” from his pelvic region. He disclosed last week that the lesion was cancerous.
The 57-year-old president had a larger, malignant tumor removed from the same region last year, but has never revealed the precise nature of the cancer. He underwent several rounds of chemotherapy after the initial surgery before announcing in October that he was cancer-free.
Chavez resumed tweeting within days of the latest surgery and has made on-air telephone calls to Venezuelan state television while convalescing in Cuba.
The head of state declined to officially delegate power during his absence and has continued to conduct official business from Havana.
In power since 1999, Chavez is running for another term in this year’s presidential election, where he will face Henrique Capriles, the consensus candidate of Venezuela’s long-divided opposition.