President Hugo Chavez is back to Venezuela coming from Cuba, where he has successfully completed a court of radiotherapy for cancer.
Hugo Chavez hugged ministers on the runway in Caracas and broke into song in front of TV cameras.
“In the last few days we successfully completed the radiation cycle, as planned by the medical team,” he said.
Hugo Chavez, in power since 1999, has insisted he will run for president again in an election due in October.
“I come with great optimism that this treatment will have the effects we hope for, always asking God to help us and give us the miracle of life to keep serving,” he said after 11 days in Cuba.
President Hugo Chavez is back to Venezuela coming from Cuba, where he has successfully completed a court of radiotherapy for cancer
Officials have said that Hugo Chavez’s low profile in recent weeks has been due to the effects of radiotherapy.
However, there had been speculation his condition might be more serious than has been revealed.
Hugo Chavez, 57, said he would continue “rigorously” following medical instructions over the coming days.
“But as the hours and days pass, I’m sure that with God’s favor, medical science and this soldier’s body, I will get back to where I must be, in the front line of the battle, alongside the Venezuelan people, promoting the socialist revolution,” he said.
In February, vice-president Elias Jaua said surgeons had successfully removed a lesion in Hugo Chavez’s pelvic region.
Hugo Chavez had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from the same area last year.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan intelligence agents have questioned a crossword compiler on suspicion of inciting the murder of Hugo Chavez’s brother, Adan.
Neptali Segovia was accused of hiding a coded assassination message in the Ultimas Noticias newspaper.
Answers to some of the clues in his crosswords included the words “kill”, “gunfire” and “Adan”, it is alleged.
Neptali Segovia denied the accusations, saying he had volunteered to be questioned to clarify the issue.
The accusation against him was made earlier this week by TV pundit Miguel Angel Perez Pirela, who presents a programme on state channel VTV.
He said a team of psychologists and mathematicians had concluded that the Spanish-language crossword contained a coded assassination plot against Adan Chavez.
“These sorts of messages were used a lot during World War II,” he said, comparing it to secret codes used by the French Resistance.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has returned to Cuba for more radiotherapy to treat a recurrence of his cancer.
Hugo Chavez announced his departure from Caracas in a Twitter message sent from the airport.
“Heading for Havana with faith in Resurrected Christ. We’ll keep living and keep winning!”
Hugo Chavez had surgery in February to remove a second tumor from his pelvic area.
The President told Venezuelans he was returning to Cuba for more treatment after an emotional plea for his life at an Easter mass.
Speaking through tears in his hometown of Barinas, Hugo Chavez asked Jesus to give him more time because he had “things left to do”.
“Give me your crown, Christ, give it to me, I will bleed, give me your cross, a hundred crosses, but give me life, because I still have things left to do for the [Venezuelan] people and for the homeland,” Hugo Chavez said during Thursday night’s mass.
He later said it had been “a spontaneous, sentimental thing” brought about by the presence of his family next to him at the mass.
“My mum gave me her hand with such tenderness, and Dad gave me his… and because of this, tears rolled down my face”, Hugo Chavez said.
Hugo Chavez told Venezuelans he was returning to Cuba for more treatment after an emotional plea for his life at an Easter mass
The exact nature of Hugo Chavez’s cancer has not been disclosed, fuelling rumors that his health may be worse than officially stated.
Hugo Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, has said that despite his health problems he is determined to win October’s presidential election.
Last year, he had surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy in Cuba, after a baseball-sized growth was detected in his pelvic region.
After the treatment he had said he was free from cancer, only to suffer a recurrence that required surgery in February.
Just hours before leaving for Havana, the Venezuelan leader unveiled a 32.25% increase in the minimum wage, to be introduced in two stages later this year.
“In the 1980s and 90s, the minimum wage was basically frozen, then inflation went through the roof… we’ve been working on this for several weeks,” Hugo Chavez said in a televised cabinet meeting.
Venezuela inflation is currently about 25% a year.
Details were also published of telephone calls Hugo Chavez had made to the leaders of Ecuador and Bolivia, as well as to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Hugo Chavez discussed the unrest in Syria, “especially the successful way the Syrian government had contained armed terrorist gangs… which were seeking in vain to impede the advance of political reforms pushed forward by the Assad government,” according to AP news agency.
At least 9,000 people have been killed, mostly by security forces, since an uprising broke out last year against Bashar al-Assad’s rule.