Chavez opponents demand answers on his condition
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 6:48 p.m.
CARACAS — Venezuela's opposition pressed the government to reveal specifics of President Hugo Chavez's condition on Wednesday, criticizing the secrecy surrounding the ailing leader's health more than three weeks since his cancer surgery in Cuba.
Opposition coalition leader Ramon Guillermo Aveledo said at a news conference that the information provided by government officials “continues to be insufficient.”
Chavez has not been seen or heard from since the Dec. 11 operation, and Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said the president's condition remained “delicate” because of complications from a respiratory infection.
Maduro urged Venezuelans to ignore rumors about Chavez's condition.
Aveledo said the opposition has been respectful during Chavez's illness, arguing that “the secrecy is the source of the rumors.”
“They should tell the truth,” Aveledo said, noting that Maduro had pledged to provide full reports about Chavez's condition. He reiterated the opposition's call for the government to release a medical report and said all indications are that Chavez won't be able to be sworn in to begin a new term Jan. 10.
If Chavez can't take office on that date, Aveledo said the constitution is clear that the National Assembly president should then take over temporarily until a new election is held. He said what happens next in Venezuela should be guided by “the truth and the constitution.”
If Chavez dies or is unable to continue in office, the Venezuelan constitution says a new election should be held within 30 days.
With rumors swirling that Chavez had taken a turn for the worse, Maduro said on Tuesday that he had met with the president twice, had spoken with him and would return to Caracas on Wednesday.
“He's totally conscious of the complexity of his post-operative state and he expressly asked us ... to keep the nation informed always, always with the truth, as hard as it may be in certain circumstances,” Maduro said in the prerecorded interview.
Both supporters and opponents of Chavez have been on edge in the past week amid shifting signals from the government about the president's health. Officials have reported a series of ups and downs in his recovery — the most recent, on Sunday, announcing that he faced the new complications from a respiratory infection.
Maduro did not provide any new details about Chavez's complications during Tuesday's interview. But he joined other Chavez allies in urging Venezuelans to ignore gossip, saying rumors were being spread because of “the hatred of the enemies of Venezuela.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Suspected attack leader still ‘free’
- Panel to advise Pope Francis on sex abuse
- Did Comet ISON survive?
- China scrambles jets to track U.S.
- Mexican cartels get into mining
- Moody’s ups Greece rating
- Killing allegedly arranged over Internet
- Former Italian Premier Berlusconi accused of paying off witnesses
- Vatican’s centuries-old almoner role continues with modern twist
- North Korea leader apparently boots uncle from post
- Police: Toronto mayor tried to buy crack tape