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Venezuela's Chavez returns home

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:59 AM EDT, Fri April 27, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Chavez has spent 50 days in Cuba this year
  • Chavez returns from his latest trip to Cuba, where he goes to battle cancer
  • "Happy because we are heading to our beloved Venezuela!" Chavez tweets
  • The 57-year-old president has not specified the type of cancer he is fighting

(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned home early Thursday after receiving cancer treatments in Cuba.

Before landing, Chavez released a statement about coming back to his homeland.

"Already on the plane! All of us very happy because we are heading back to our beloved Venezuela!" a message on his official Twitter account said.

Chavez is battling cancer and was in Cuba to undergo treatment. He has been to Havana several times in recent weeks and months to see doctors.

Since the beginning of the year, Chavez has spent 50 days in Havana.

Chavez quells rumors about death

The presidential campaign in Venezuela is in full swing, but Chavez has hardly been seen pursuing votes.

Leaked reports claim that Chavez's health is worse than the government is admitting. CNN cannot independently verify those claims. However, there has been a noticeable silence from the leader.

On Monday, he ended a more than week of silence, taking to the airwaves to refute rumors of his death.

"Rumors sometimes hurt. Look at my poor mother. ... Yesterday, I returned her call. I called my mother because she was so was nervous, and truthfully, you could feel it in her voice -- her voice broken," Chavez said in a broadcast by state-run VTV.

The 57-year-old president has not specified the type of cancer he is fighting, and the government has released few specifics, fueling widespread speculation about his health and political future.

His comments on VTV were his first in more than a week, an unusually long period of silence for the outspoken socialist leader.

Earlier in April, Chavez spoke at a Mass in his home state of Barinas, tearing up at times as he discussed his struggle with illness.

"Christ ... give me life, because I still have things to do for the people and this country. Do not take me yet," he said.

Chavez described cancer as "a true threat that marks the end of the path for many people. The end of the physical path, that's the truth."

But he said he was recovering, adding that he had "much faith, much hope, much willpower to defeat this threat, as many people have, with the help of God and medical science."

Chavez has led Venezuela since 1999 and has pledged to run for re-election in October.

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