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 Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month
More

Pope's Relatives Killed in Argentina Car Crash

Family of pontiff's nephew killed after car plows into truck
More

Ex-Guatemalan Drug Kingpin Pleads Guilty to US Charges

Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, linked by authorities to Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, pleaded guilty to conspiring to import more than 450 kilograms of Colombian cocaine into US
More

Landmark Brazil Poll Brings Good News for Rousseff

Facing tough road to re-election, Rousseff has seen sharp recovery in approval ratings, voter support
More

Video Mexico Opens Energy Sector, but Investors May Hesitate

Mexican President Pena Nieto has signed into law changes designed to open it to private investment, though foreign companies are taking cautious approach
More

Video Obama Expected to Take Executive Action on Undocumented Immigrants

Congress has adjourned for a five-week recess without boosting federal funds to house and process child migrants - or reforming US immigration law
More