Chavez to return home after surgery

"God willingly, I will return in the next few days," the convalescing leader said from Cuba on Sunday on the Venezuelan state-run news channel VTV.

"Today is the 13th day after surgery. My vitals are completely normal. I'm in good state of health overall, with no complications."

The tumor Cuban doctors removed late last month was smaller than another tumor removed in June, Chavez said in an earlier statement.

Chavez has said he is scheduled to undergo radiation treatment.

The outspoken, flamboyant socialist leader has led Venezuela since 1999 and has pledged to run for reelection in October. But the government has released few specifics about his surgery, fueling speculation that his illness would force him from politics.

He has not specified the type of cancer he battled last year, but announced in October that his treatment had been successful. But he said his doctors told him that the new growth "required a fast intervention."

"The other one was much bigger," he said this month. But doctors believed "it was likely... that given what we had studied, that it was a recurrence."

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