Chavez Will Stay in Power Even If He Doesn't Take Oath, VP Says


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May 5, 2011
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By Charlie Devereux & Jose Orozco - Jan 4, 2013

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will remain in power even if he fails to attend a ceremony next week in which he's scheduled to be sworn in for another term, his Vice President Nicolas Maduro said.

Opponents of the socialist president, who is recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba, are distorting the constitution by saying that Chavez must show up for the Jan. 10 swearing-in ceremony at the National Assembly or be declared ineligible to govern, Maduro said in a television interview.
The constitution is flexible, and if needed the Supreme Court can set the date, manner and location Chavez will be sworn in for the third, six- year term he won in October by a landslide, he said.

"Chavez on that day remains in power and will be sworn in whenever possible," Maduro said in the hour-long interview broadcast on state television, warning the opposition against trying to carry out a "coup" by misinterpreting to its advantage the charter's provisions for presidential succession. "The constitution speaks for itself."

The comments by Maduro, the president's handpicked successor, signal that the ailing leader's top allies are unlikely to push him out of office even as an opposition-led campaign to call a snap election intensifies. Chavez hasn't been seen in public since traveling to Havana Dec. 10 for his fourth surgery in 18 months, and government reports that he's having trouble breathing as a result of a lung infection are fueling speculation that he's unable to ever serve again.

Risk of Violence

Maduro accused the opposition of carrying out a "dirty war" against Venezuela's democracy by spreading rumors through fake Twitter accounts opened in officials' names and sending letters to foreign diplomats warning of a government-staged coup if Chavez fails to return next week. Such actions could provoke violence, he warned.

"They're playing with fire," he said, citing the risk of a repeat of street riots in Bogota that left hundreds dead following the murder in 1948 of Colombian presidential candidate Jorge Gaitan, a politician popular with that nation's poor.

While Chavez's condition remains "complex," his respiratory infection is being treated and the president will appear again in public as soon as his doctors allow, Maduro said. In the meantime, he continues to stay abreast of affairs, and at the end of December made phone calls to cabinet members, including Finance Minister Jorge Giordani, to ask about the state of the economy.

Chavez Will Stay in Power Even If He Doesn't Take Oath, VP Says - Bloomberg

Imported Cuban democracy...

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