"It is not time for dying; it's time to live," Chavez said in Caracas before departing Saturday. "I am going for a few days but I am not saying goodbye ... I will return better," he said, without revealing how long he would be away for.
The Cubadebate official government news website showed a photo of Chavez being greeted by President Raul Castro at the Jose Marti airport upon arriving here late Saturday.
A photo on the Cubadebate site shows Chavez holding the hand of a young woman presumed to be his daughter Rosa, who traveled to Havana with the ailing leader.
Despite not ceding much power, Chavez has delegated for the first time a modicum of administrative control to his vice president, Elias Jaua, with the ability to sign his orders.
The president said he would hand over his full presidential powers to Jaua only "if I felt my abilities were impaired."