In a letter from Fidel Castro released by the Venezuelan government, the former Cuban leader said the secrecy surrounding his treatment was needed “so as not to give an opportunity to the fascist groups to plan any of their cynical actions against the Bolivarian revolutionary process.”
Maduro also shot back, telling the opposition to “stay quiet for awhile… don’t mess with the deep sensibilities of the people.”
Miranda Gov. Henrique Capriles, who lost against Chávez in October, welcomed the president and asked him to rein in his cabinet.
“I hope the president’s return helps bring some sense to all those people who have spent the last weeks degrading and insulting [us],” Capriles said. “I hope this means that the country will begin to know what’s happening; that they will tell the truth and spend their time and energy on things that are truly important.”
As the news of Chávez’s return spread in the pre-dawn hours, fireworks went off over the capital and crowds began to gather at the hospital and public squares.
“We’ve been sad for months, hoping for his return,” said Fanny Batista, 67, who stood outside the hospital. “Now we know his condition has improved. My heart is filled with so much joy my chest can barely contain it.”
Crowds also gathered at the iconic Plaza Venezuela.
‘SO MANY RUMORS’
“I can finally breathe because now we know he’s alive,’’ said Gregorio Chettick a 45-year-old chef. “For the last two months everything has been uncertain. There have been so many rumors; we didn’t know if he was already dead or if the country was going to break into a civil war.’’
The photos the government released last week showed the president lying in a hospital bed flanked by his two daughters. They were the first pictures to emerge since Chávez traveled to Cuba. The government also explained Chávez’s prolonged silence, saying that a respiratory infection had required a tracheal tube, which makes it difficult for him to speak.
Chávez has been battling cancer since at least June 2011, but the administration has never said what type of cancer he has or what organs may be affected. The president has only said that a baseball-sized tumor was removed from his pelvic region. Since then, he has undergone at least four surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
This last round of treatments has been plagued by problems including internal bleeding and a respiratory infection, which led to the tracheotomy.
Maduro also has said that Chávez is undergoing unspecified “complementary treatments.”
In his final Twitter message Monday, Chávez said he had faith in his medical team and in Christ.
“We will live and we will win,’’ he wrote.