Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to Caracas on Friday after a 10-day stay in Cuba for post-cancer treatment.
"I am very happy to be here again and very upbeat," an animated Chavez told his aides who welcomed him back as he descended from his presidential plane.
"Today marks two months after the October victory, but yesterday marked 14 years after the Dec. 6, 1998, victory," said Chavez, dressed in a track suit and accompanied by daughters Rosa and Maria. The earlier victory initially brought him to power.
"And we are eight days from the victory that's coming on December 16," he went on, referring to the upcoming regional elections.
Chavez, however, missed a meeting on Friday of the Common Market of the South, or Mercosur, in Brazil's capital, Brasilia, which Venezuela was supposed to attend for the first time as a full member of the trade bloc.
Missing the event fueled speculation again about his health two months after he won re-election for another six-year term on Oct. 7.
Chavez, 58, has fought cancer since mid-2011. His leaving for Havana on Nov. 27 for more treatment came as a surprise as his declaration that he had beat cancer was believed key to his reelection win.
He said at the time that doctors had recommended he undergo "hyperbaric oxygenation," or breathe pressurized pure oxygen, to help counteract damage to bones and tissues caused by radiotherapy.