News / Americas

With Inauguration Approaching, Uncertainty in Venezuela

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez attends a special session at the National Assembly commemorating the country's Independence Day, in Caracas, Venezuela, July 5, 2012.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez attends a special session at the National Assembly commemorating the country's Independence Day, in Caracas, Venezuela, July 5, 2012.
VOA News
Venezuelans and their political leaders are facing a week of questions as the country, and the world, waits to see if ailing President Hugo Chavez takes the oath of office January 10.

Thursday is the day designated by the Venezuelan constitution for administering the oath of office.  Chavez won re-election in October, but he has been in Cuba for cancer treatment and has not been seen in public for nearly a month. 

The most recent word on Chavez's condition came this past Thursday from Venezuela Information Minister Ernesto Villegas, who said the president has experienced some difficulties.

"Following the sensitive surgery on 11 December, Commander Chavez has faced some complications as a consequence of a severe lung infection," he said. "This infection has resulted in a respiratory deficiency that requires Commander Chavez to remain in strict compliance with his medical treatment.  The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates their confidence in the medical team taking care of the president which has been following closely the evolution of the patient and has acted with the utmost thoroughness in dealing with the difficulties that have come about."

Doctors have been treating Chavez for cancer in his pelvic area, but his exact form of cancer and condition are unknown.

Some Venezuelan opposition leaders argue if Chavez is unable to take the oath of office on January 10, it would have to mean he is stepping down and that new elections would have to be held.

Chavez's allies, including re-elected National Assembly Speaker Diosdado Cabello, say that is not the case.

"Without any arrogance [I can tell you], on 10 January, it does not mean anything if President Chavez is not present [for the inauguration], President Chavez was elected on 7 October for the term between 2013 and 2019," he said.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro has said if Chavez is unable to attend his inauguration Thursday before the National Assembly, he could be sworn in later by the Supreme Court.

On Saturday, while speaking to supporters, he blamed much of the uncertainty on propaganda by the opposition.

"We need to be in constant battle to fight the lies," he said.  "If the lies come via Twitter, then let us go after the lies on Twitter, if the lies come via Facebook, then let us go after the lies on Facebook.  If they are in the street, then let us argue against them in the street."

Maduro also promised more information would be coming.

"In the coming days, we will continue to inform you about the status of the respiratory condition that our commander [Chavez] is suffering. You know that these types of treatments call for keeping calm and we are calm. We are calm," he said.

Some legal experts note the constitution allows the Supreme Court to swear in the president without mentioning a specific date.

For now, all that is certain is that. Chavez's allies hold a majority in the Assembly and all of its leadership positions.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ricardo Mondolfi from: Caracas, Venezuela
January 07, 2013 6:06 PM
I really wish Chavez and his team of incompetent flatterers that run my country would realize what they are trying to do:

They're trying to swear in a dying president-elect with terminal cancer! Why not just let him step down, go into a period of provisional power, and call fresh election, as the Constitution states?

All of that, just maintain their grip on power.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Obama's Immigration Moves Debated on TV Talk Shows

President urges Republicans to pass legislation if they dislike executive orders he issued to address status of millions of illegals in US
More

Vazquez Is Favorite to Win Uruguay Presidential Vote

Leftist ruling party candidate buoyed by widespread affection for country's outgoing leader, strong economic growth
More

Brazil's Rousseff Struggles to Limit Petrobras Scandal's Damage

President expects bribery scandal at state-run oil company to deteriorate in coming months, aides say, with arrests possible for some political allies
More

Mexico, Central America Hail Obama's Immigration Reform

Mexican leader calls US president's proposals 'most important measures taken in several decades'
More

Torturers of Chilean President's Father Sentenced to Jail

Judge sentences 2 retired colonels to prison for committing 'crime of torture resulting in the death' of Alberto Bachelet Martinez during early days of Pinochet dictatorship
More

NYC Immigrant Advocates Praise Obama Move, Vow to Continue Fight

Threatened refusal by Republican congressional leaders to cooperate will backfire politically, attorney insists
More