Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned home from Cuba after 10 days and much speculation on the self-proclaimed socialist leader's health.
Chavez's last public appearance was Nov. 15, but in Caracas early Friday, state media Venezolana de Television broadcast images of Chavez wearing a track suit and descending the stairs of his presidential jet, the Associated Press reported.
"I'm very happy, as you all can see, to be arriving here again," Chavez said. "Very happy."
On Thursday the Guardian quoted editor of the Venezuelan newspaper Tal Cual Teodoro Petkoff who said Chavez was seriously ill:
"I am under the impression that Chavez's health has suffered a rapid decline. The effort he put into the re-election campaign has had an impact on his illness. He had to leave practically in an emergency and without the formalities and public acts that usually accompany his departure."
Chavez, now 58, suffered three cancer operations, all in Cuba, beginning in 2011. Earlier this year he declared himself cancer free.
This recent trip was to receive hyperbaric oxygenation, which Reuters reports is "normally used to alleviate bone decay from radiation therapy."
On his return Chavez joked, "So, where's the party?"
Eva Golinger, an American-Venezuelan lawyer The New York Times called in 2011, "one of the most prominent fixtures of Venezuela’s expanding state propaganda complex," tweeted her joy.
Translation via Reuters: YEEESSSSS!!!! Chavez is back and has shown up all the rumor-mongers, necrophiliacs, gossips and ill-thinkers. Welcome commander."
On Dec. 16 Venezuela will have state gubernatorial elections. Ever confident, Chavez declared, "We're eight days away from the next victory."