Supporters celebrate as Chavez returns home

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Associated Press

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 18 at 12:00 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have been staging street celebrations to welcome him home.

The government says Chavez returned to Venezuela early today after more than two months of treatment in Cuba, where he had cancer surgery. A message posted on his Twitter account says, "We will continue our treatment here."

Hundreds of supporters gathered in a plaza in downtown Caracas, chanting his name and holding photos of the president. A man with a megaphone told the gathering, "Our commander has returned!" Supporters also celebrated outside the hospital, where a sign atop the building is adorned with a photo of Chavez.

The Venezuelan leader's precise condition and the sort of cancer treatments he is undergoing remain a mystery. And there has been increasing speculation recently that he may not be able to stay on as president.

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APPHOTO XFLL121: Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez celebrate his return, outside the Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. Chavez returned to Venezuela early Monday after more than two months of medical treatment in Cuba following cancer surgery. Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on television that Chavez arrived at 2:30 a.m. and was taken to the military hospital in Caracas, where he will continue his treatment. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (18 Feb 2013)

<<APPHOTO XFLL121 (02/18/13)>>

APPHOTO XFLL122: A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a heart-shaped placard with his image in Bolivar Square, where supporters gathered to celebrate his return, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. Chavez returned to Venezuela early Monday after more than two months of medical treatment in Cuba following cancer surgery. Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on television that Chavez arrived at 2:30 a.m. and was taken to the Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Caracas, where he will continue his treatment. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (18 Feb 2013)

<<APPHOTO XFLL122 (02/18/13)>>

APPHOTO XFLL119: A banner bearing a photo of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is displayed on a building of the Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Caracas, where the ailing leader is expected to continue his treatment, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. Chavez returned to Venezuela early Monday after more than two months of medical treatment in Cuba following cancer surgery, and was being treated at the Caracas' military hospital, his government said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (18 Feb 2013)

<<APPHOTO XFLL119 (02/18/13)>>

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