Dec. 7 - President Hugo Chavez returns to Venezuela following cancer-related medical treatment. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION President Hugo Chavez returned from Cuba on Friday (December 7) following cancer-related medical treatment, walking and joking at the airport in a first public appearance in three weeks that quashed rumors he might have been at death's door. The 58-year-old socialist leader went to Havana ten days ago to receive "hyperbaric oxygenation" - a treatment normally used to alleviate bone decay from radiation therapy. But speculation was rife he may have suffered a recurrence of the cancer that has afflicted him twice since mid-2011. One local journalist had said he was confined to a wheelchair. Earlier this year, Chavez declared himself "completely cured." Officials had maintained his latest trip to Cuba was just a scheduled follow-up to the radiation therapy he underwent in the first half of 2012.