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Chavez, back in Venezuela, skips independence parade

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Chavez vows to win 'battle for life'
  • Chavez addressed the crowd via a broadcast from the presidential palace
  • He said Venezuela was once again free from imperialists
  • Chavez unexpectedly returned to Venezuela on Monday

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, back in his homeland after a prolonged absence in Cuba where he was treated for cancer, did not attend the country's bicentennial parade in person Tuesday.

Instead, Chavez addressed those at the colorful and lengthy military parade from a room inside the Miraflores presidential palace via loud speakers.

"To my beloved people, to my beloved soldiers, to my beloved country: Here I am recuperated, but still in recovery," he said in the brief statement.

He said that the way to celebrate the 200 years since Venezuela declared independence was to have "gained independence once again."

Chavez returns, vows to recover

"We are no longer a colony of any empire and we never will be again, thanks to God, the people, and our soldiers," Chavez said.

The presidents of Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia, as well as representatives from other governments, sat in the presidential box to watch the parade, where Chavez would have sat, too.

Chavez did not give a reason for his absence, but presumably his doctors advised against spending three hours or more in the hot Caracas sun.

Chavez returned unexpectedly Monday to his nation's capital, where he vowed to win the "battle for life" after undergoing emergency surgery in Cuba.

He had been in Cuba for weeks undergoing treatment after doctors performed emergency surgery. Chavez announced last week that they had removed a cancerous tumor.

He said then he was continuing treatment but did not specify what that treatment entailed, where the tumor was located or when he would return to Venezuela.

Prior to that announcement, the Venezuelan leader had kept a notably low profile in the three weeks since officials announced that doctors operated on him, sparking rampant rumors about his health and the country's political future.

Journalist Osmary Hernandez contributed to this report.