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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mexico Launches Special Police Force to Guard Economic Activity

New 5,000-member force will be part of federal police, and it will focus on protecting agriculture, mining, and oil and gas production against criminal groups
More

Colombia Army, Rebels Meet Face-to-Face at Peace Talks

Sit-down in Havana, Cuba, is first time in 50-year conflict that active-duty officers, FARC members have talked peace together
More

Peru's Congress Fails to Ratify Humala's New Cabinet

Key conservative allies withheld their votes, failure underscores president's waning political power as economy slows
More

US Judge Calls Argentina Debt-Swap Plan 'Illegal'

But, Judge Thomas Griesa stopped short of holding country in contempt, saying that would not help resolve dispute that led to nation's second default in a dozen years
More

Brazil Presidential Race Gets One More Candidate

Environmentalist Marina Silva to join contest for Socialist Party candidate; vote to be held October 5
More

Guatemalan General Killed in Copter Crash Near Mexico Border

General Rudy Ortiz was among five people killed; cause under investigation; weather said to have been possible factor
More