4 July 2011
Last updated at 19:29 ET
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has been addressing thousands of jubilant supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace in the capital, Caracas, following his return from Cuba.
Dressed in his army uniform, Mr Chavez first led the crowd in a robust rendition of the national anthem, and then spoke - standing and without notes - for some 30 minutes.
Mr Chavez was greeted by a jubilant crowd many thousands strong, waving national flags and largely sporting the red of his ruling Socialist party.
Venezuela's leader had boarded a plane in Havana in the early hours of Monday after an extended stay in Cuba, where he revealed he had been treated for cancer.
Saying farewell was Cuban leader Raul Castro. Mr Chavez later joked: "Fidel (Castro) and Raul almost got into the plane with me." The Venezuelan leader had been in Cuba for nearly a month.
His unheralded return to an airport near Caracas was captured by Venezuelan state TV, which broadcast the news some hours later. Among those to welcome him were his brother, Adan, Vice-President Elias Jaua and other officials.
Mr Chavez said it was "the beginning of my return", leading to speculation that he planned to take some time to recover from his medical procedures.
As the news filtered out, supporters of Mr Chavez soon appeared on the streets of Caracas, chanting and singing.
His followers hope their leader's return will end political speculation that President Chavez's health problems will make it impossible for him to run the country.