President Chávez returns to Venezuela from Cuba
At around 2:30 am, President Hugo Chávez arrived in Venezuela from Cuba, and told reporters that he was "happy" for his return, state-run television channel VTV reported
Since November 27, Chávez was in Cuba undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy. However, since November 15 he had not been seen in public.
"Much optimism! Good spirit!" he said upon his return to Venezuela. He highlighted that the election of governors will take place in nine days, on December 16. "Look at this, Nicolás (Maduro, the Venezuelan Executive Vice-President and Foreign Affairs Minister), we are pulling off one victory after the other."
"Today (Friday), it has been two months since the triumph of October 7 (the presidential vote where Chávez was reelected). Yesterday (Thursday), we marked 14 years of our victory of December 6, 1998 (when Chávez was first elected as Venezuelan president), and we are eight days ahead of the upcoming victory (in the election of governors.)"
National Assembly Speaker Diosdado Cabello replied, "My commander, we really have a chance to win the 23 governor's offices nationwide. I am saying this in a serious way, without any arrogance. I am speaking based on surveys."
Chávez was welcomed at the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetia by some members of his executive cabinet, including Minister of Electricity Héctor Navarro, Minister of Communications and Information Ernesto Villegas, Defense Minister Diego Molero Bellavia, and some family members as well.
President Nicolás Maduro is not only the heir to the throne, but also to an economic crisis which demanded urgent measures to rectify the course. The crisis showed up in two aspects: a 50% inflation estimate, and shortage of staples ranging between 70% and 98%. These issues might hit the President's poor popularity; considering his feeble electoral victory of 1% over his challenger.