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Cuba's Fidel Castro pleased Chavez is back to Venezuela


11:01, February 19, 2013

HAVANA, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said Monday he was pleased ailing President Hugo Chavez is back in his native Venezuela, after more than two months in Cuba recovering from cancer surgery.

"I am very pleased that you have been able to return to that piece of land in the Americas that you love so much, and to the sister nation that supports you so," Castro wrote in a letter to Chavez published Monday by Cuban media.

The 58-year-old Chavez, in power since 1999, surprised Venezuelans and the world when he landed in the capital Caracas in the early hours of Monday. He was immediately admitted to the city ' s military hospital, where he will continue anti-cancer treatment after undergoing a fourth operation on Dec. 11 in Havana.

Explaining the secrecy surrounding Chavez's previously unannounced return, Castro said, "everything had to be done with a lot of discretion, to avoid giving the fascist groups the opportunity to plan their cynical actions against the Bolivarian revolutionary process."

Castro added, "we will always live struggling for justice among human beings ... aware ... that it fell to us to live in the most critical era of the history of humankind."

Chavez, who was reelected Oct. 7, 2012, missed his inauguration ceremony Jan. 10 and it was postponed until his condition improved. There has been no word as yet on whether a date will be set.

The last status report issued by the Venezuelan government on Chavez's health on Feb. 15, said he was breathing with the help of a tracheal tube that made talking difficult.

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