- (Photo: Reuters)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to his home country on Monday morning to the surprise of many, following two months of cancer treatment in Cuba.
"I'm clinging to Christ and trusting in my doctors and nurses," Chávez said on his Twitter account. "Onward toward victory always!! We will live and we will triumph!!"
The president's return to Caracas was greeted by celebrations and fireworks from his supporters, who gathered in the city's main square, the Plaza Bolivar, The Washington Post reported.
"Viva Chavez! Viva the Revolution! Viva the people of Venezuela!" yelled state TV anchor Tania Diaz, whose crew joined in with the celebrations.
Chavez, 58, was re-elected as Venezuela's president in October, extending his time in office to 14 years. In December, however, he had to fly back out to Cuba for more cancer surgery after malignant cells were found in his body.
The socialist leader has been battling cancer for a number of years now, but he has refused to reveal details about the type of cancer he has and which areas in his body are affected. A report by The Guardian noted that it is believed he has had tumors removed from his pelvic region, and he has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Many had feared Chavez would be unable to continue serving as president following his latest setback, leading the socialist leader to nominate Vice President Nicolas Maduro should a new presidential election be required.
Throughout his struggles, Chavez has often referred to his strong Roman Catholic faith as a source of inspiration, and has publicly praised God for giving him strength to continue leading his people despite his health problems.
"I'm sure our Christ will do it again, continuing making the miracle," the leader told supporters in May 2012 before undergoing previous cancer treatment.
"Give me your crown, Jesus. Give me your cross, your thorns so I may bleed. But give me life, because I have more to do for this country and these people," he added in April during a pre-Easter Mass.
On Monday, Chavez announced in another Twitter post that he had arrived back to the "Venezuelan fatherland" in his home in Caracas. "Thank you, my God! Thank you, my beloved people!" He added that he will continue undergoing treatment in Venezuela, and posted a photo of himself smiling with his two daughters last week.
The president had not addressed his people since his departure for Cuba in December. After surgery on Dec. 11, the government revealed he was breathing through a tracheal tube that makes talking difficult.