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Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez returned to his home country Tuesday to celebrate its independence day following a visit to Cuba where he underwent surgery on a cancerous tumor. His surprise speech on a balcony at the presidential palace in Caracas was described by The Christian Science Monitor as a "triumphant return" with thousands of Venezuelans flooding the streets and chanting in support of the leader. “It’s a miracle I am here considering how I was,” Chávez said. “We are here because we love Chávez,” a businessman told the news agency. “He has done so much for us. He is the one. It is the opposition that is the cancer of this country.” Meanwhile, opposition leaders suspected that Chavez's jubilant return on the country's 200th anniversary was a political ploy. "While Chávez suggested from the Miraflores balcony that doctors’ orders may hamper his ability to take part in celebrations, there is little doubt now that the master of public relations will at least appear for a photo, bathing in the sea of red that faithfully and unhesitatingly buoys his popularity," reports the Monitor.

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