CARACAS - Venezuela's ever-theatrical President Hugo Chavez made a surprise homecoming from Cuba on Monday and declared himself "fine" despite speculation his cancer may still require lengthy treatment. "I'm happy ... I'm going to get some rest," a bubbly-sounding Chavez told state TV by telephone after touching down in the early hours of the morning.
Elated supporters took to the streets of Caracas within minutes, chanting: "He's back! He's back!" Chavez's return changes the political dynamics once again in Venezuela, where politicians on all sides had been bracing for a protracted months-long absence of the man who has dominated the OPEC member nation for the last 12 years.