Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return from Cuba on Monday more than two months after surgery for cancer that has jeopardized his 14-year rule of the South American OPEC member.

The 58-year-old socialist leader's homecoming in the middle of the night implies some improvement in his condition - at least enough to handle a flight of several hours - and will fuel supporters' hopes he could return to active rule.

But there was no new information on Chavez's medical condition and he might be simply hoping to smooth a transition. No images of his arrival were released and aides have said his state remains "complex."