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article imageChavez returns to Caracas in dead of night

By Larry Clifton     Feb 18, 2013 in Politics
Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was brought home from Cuba in the dead of night, Sunday, leaving analysts to ponder whether he has returned to die or lead the country.
A Reuters report suggested the return of Chavez, 58, who hasn’t spoke publicly since a six-hour cancer surgery on Dec.11, may inspire his supporters. However, despite such optimism, his handlers produced no images of the cancer-stricken leader’s silent return.
A Twitter posting on a Chavez account thanked God for his return and announced that cancer treatments would continue in Venezuela.
"We have arrived back in the Venezuelan fatherland. Thanks, my God! Thanks, my beloved people! Here we will continue the treatment," the 'Chavez' tweet said.
In another tweet, Chavez talked of Christ and expressed simplistic nationalist spunk, citing his will to “live” and “conquer.”
"I remain attached to Christ and trusting in my nurses and doctors," Chavez also tweeted on Monday. "Onwards to victory forever! We will live and we will conquer!"
Chavez reportedly arrived in country around 2:30 a.m. local time and was immediately admitted to a hospital in Caracas.
Government ministers appeared on government television in stunned exuberance, one singing "He's back, he's back!" live on camera.
Sporadic fireworks could be heard in the city as word spread that Chavez had returned from Cuba. The hospital, heavily guarded by soldiers, was ringed by supporters chanting "We are Chavez!" and "He's back, he's back!" Medical staff appeared at one point and told Chavez supporters to celebrate more quietly.
Under 14 years of strongman Chavez's rule, the Venezuelan economy has shrunk along with oil production, the country’s main export. While gas is all but free in the socialist country, used cars are more expensive than new ones since new vehicles are extremely hard to find in Venezuela.
Poverty expanded in Venezuela as Chavez, political disciple of Fidel Castro, nationalized banks, foreign oil companies and private industry.
Recently, proposals made by the opposition and ridiculed by Chavez before he was re-elected were implemented by his regime, calling into question the ability of the president to run the country.
Meanwhile, Chavez remains sidelined by complications from his last surgery that left him breathing with a tracheal tube and unable to speak.
Chavez's spokesmen recently described his condition as delicate. "It's a complex, difficult situation, but Chavez is battling and fighting for his life," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said during the weekend.
More about Caracas International Airport, Hugo chavez, Venezuela president, Fidel castro, cuba chavez
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