President Hugo Chavez is back in Venezuela after spending two months in Cuba for cancer treatment. Chavez’s sudden return was announced last night on his Twitter page, the first message posted from his account since early November.
“We come back to the country of Venezuela. Thank God! Thank you dear people! Here we continue the treatment,” he wrote. “I still clung to Christ and trust in my doctors and nurses. Ever onward to victory! We will live and overcome!” the 58-year-old leader added in another tweet.
He also thanked Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro for their hospitality. Chavez will continue his recovery at Dr. Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Caracas. The Venezuelan government published four photographs of Chavez in a hospital bed on Friday, the first public images of the president since he left for Cuba in December, but he remained secluded upon his return to the country.
Analysts continue to question Chavez’s ability to lead Venezuela as he recovers from his fourth round of cancer treatment. Chavez is months into his fourth term as president, though he missed his scheduled Jan. 10 inauguration. Government officials pushed back the ceremony indefinitely, but with the president’s return the inauguration could be a symbol of a return to normalcy.
Though public details about his health status have been scarce, Chavez still enjoys widespread support in Venezuela. Prior to his departure, he chose Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his successor should he not survive his treatment. Medical professionals speculate that even if Chavez does not succumb to the disease immediately, he may be forced to step down before the end of his six-year term, sparking a shift in the country’s government.
“Unfortunately, the cancer he has isn’t going to go away, and he’s returning to continue his battle,” Dr. Carlos Castro of the Colombian League Against Cancer told The Associated Press. “But I think he’s conscious that he isn’t going to win his fight against cancer, as much as he’d like to win it,”