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Politics

Hugo Chavez returns to Venezuela from Cuba, announces it on Twitter

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has tweeted that he has returned home following his cancer surgery in Cuba in December. Photos released on Friday were the first time Venezuelans had seen him in two months.

In a Tweet stamped 4:11 a.m. local time (841 GMT), Chavez announced that he had returned from his convalescence. After being re-elected in October, Chavez had not yet been home for a day of his fourth presidential term, which officially began on January 10.

"We have arrived again to the Venezuelan homeland," Chavez wrote on Twitter. "Thank you my God!! Thank you my beloved people!! We will continue the treatment here."

Chavez, 58, has received cancer treatments in Cuba on numerous occasions since his publicized diagnosis in June 2011. However, his most recent convalescence has drawn speculation from political opponents about the seriousness of his condition, as the previously boisterous leader had not been seen or heard from since leaving for Cuba in December. During the two-month period, the government released some information regarding the president's health, but, compared to previous surgeries, the details were few.

"Thanks to Fidel, to Raul and all of Cuba!!" Chavez wrote on Twitter, referring to the island's ruling Castro brothers. "Thanks to Venezuela for so much love!!"

On Friday, Venezuela's government released photos of Chavez in the hospital with his daughters, reading the official Cuban newspaper, Granma, named after the yacht the Castros rode to the island in 1956 to lead their ultimately triumphant revolution.

On Twitter, Chavez also came off quite triumphant, having returned after two months to continue his own revolution in Venezuela: "I continue clinging to Christ and confident in my medicine and nurses. Onward to victory forever!! We shall survive and we shall overcome!!"

mkg/kms (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)