Chavez returns to Venezuela after cancer surgery

President Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela early on Monday after spending more than two months in Cuba for cancer surgery and treatment, announcing his surprise homecoming via Twitter.

"We have arrived again to the Venezuelan motherland," Chavez wrote. "Thank you God. Thank you my beloved people. We will continue my treatment here."

From the airport, he was taken to Carlos Avarela Military Hospital in Caracas where he will continue his medical treatment, said his son-in-law and Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza.

Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011. After surgery and treatment he declared himself free of the disease and went on to win another term in elections last October.

But he suffered a relapse, and after the latest surgery on December 11 in Havana he was still too sick to come back to Venezuela for his scheduled inauguration on January 10.

The inauguration has been postponed indefinitely, and Vice President Nicolas Maduro has essentially been running Venezuela in Chavez's absence.

In his message, Chavez also expressed his gratitude to Cuba and its leaders for their assistance in his medical treatment.

"Thank you Fidel, Raul and everybody in Cuba," he wrote, referring to Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro. "And thank you, Venezuela, for so much love."

As before, he underscored his belief in God and hopes for complete recovery.

"I am holding on to Jesus Christ and trust my doctors and nurses," the president said. "As always, see you in victory. We will live and we will win."