Chavez returns declaring success in fight against cancer

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned home from Havana on Saturday, declaring success in his fight against cancer after a week in which he received what was supposed to be his last session of radiation therapy.

"I have to tell you that in recent days we have successfully concluded this course of radiation therapy," the Venezuelan leader told local television upon his arrival at Maiquetia Airport.

Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami had fueled the speculation after saying on Tuesday that the Venezuelan president would return in 'the coming hours,' which then did not happen.

Chavez, 57, has undergone surgery twice in the past year to remove cancerous tumors, and has had chemotherapy followed by radiation treatments to try to rid himself of the cancer.

He has not disclosed the type of cancer he has or the prognosis, which, with presidential elections looming in October, has fueled political uncertainty at home.

Chavez, in power since 1999, is running for reelection as a 'revolutionary socialist' against Henrique Capriles, the youthful Miranda state governor and center-left candidate for the united opposition.

Last month, Chavez put his health and political future in the spotlight, begging at a pre-Easter mass: "Please don't take me yet."

"Give me your crown of thorns, Christ, I will bleed; Give me your cross -- 100 crosses -- and I will carry them for you. But give me life, because I still have things to do for my people and my country," Chavez said.

Chavez is the most prominent face of the left in Latin America, and has rallied a group of like-minded leaders as a counterweight to the United States.

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