Hugo Chavez Ends 'Successful' Cuba Cancer Treatment

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned from Cuba, saying he has successfully completed his radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned from Cuba, saying he has successfully completed his radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

President Chavez walked with apparent ease from the plane after landing in Caracas

TV images showed Mr Chavez hugging ministers and singing a song following his arrival in Caracas.

Political tension has been rising because of uncertainty over Mr Chavez's health ahead of October elections.

Earlier, a crossword compiler denied inciting the murder of Mr Chavez's brother, Adan, in one of his puzzles.

The compiler, Neptali Segovia, was questioned by Venezuelan intelligence agents after being accused of hiding a coded assassination message in a national newspaper.

'Great optimism'

"I can tell you that in the last few days we successfully completed the radiation cycle, as planned by the medical team," President Chavez said on his return after 11 days of treatment.

"I come with great optimism that this treatment will have the effects we hope for, always asking God to help us and give us the miracle of life to keep serving."

Officials have said that Mr Chavez's low profile in recent weeks has been due to the effects of radiation treatment.

However, there had been speculation his condition might be more serious than has been revealed.

President Chavez, 57, said he would continue "rigorously" following medical instructions over the coming days.

"But as the hours and days pass, I'm sure that with God's favour, medical science and this soldier's body, I will get back to where I must be, in the front line of the battle, alongside the Venezuelan people, promoting the socialist revolution," he said.

President Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, has said that despite his health problems he is determined to win October's presidential election.

In February, vice-president Elias Jaua said surgeons had successfully removed a lesion in Mr Chavez's pelvic region. Mr Chavez had two operations to remove a cancerous tumour from the same area last year.

Crossword allegations

Meanwhile the Ultimas Noticias newspaper said Mr Segovia had gone voluntarily to the headquarters of Venezuela's intelligence service after agents came looking for him at its office in Caracas.

Answers to some of the clues in his crosswords included the words "kill", "gunfire" and "Adan", it is alleged.

"I went because no-one is more interested in clarifying this than me," the paper quoted him as saying.

Mr Segovia said he had denied the accusation and had been treated respectfully.

The accusation against him was made earlier this week by TV pundit Miguel Angel Perez Pirela, who presents a programme on state channel VTV.

He said a team of psychologists and mathematicians had concluded that the Spanish-language crossword contained a coded assassination plot against Adan.

"These sorts of messages were used a lot during World War II," he said, comparing it to secret codes used by the French Resistance.

Correspondents say the story has caused widespread amusement, but also highlights an atmosphere of growing political polarisation in Venezuela.

President Chavez and his supporters have frequently accused opposition groups of plotting violence in the run-up to October's election.