Venezuelan VP stands in for Chavez ; foes leave
CARACAS — Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro took the place of ailing President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday by delivering a short speech and turning in a state-of-the-nation report amid legal debate about his legitimacy.
Maduro submitted the report in writing from Chavez's government while the president remained in a Cuban hospital undergoing treatment after his fourth cancer-related surgery. Opposition politicians argued that the annual speech should have been postponed because the president is supposed to deliver it, and some walked out in protest.
Maduro announced during the speech, a day after visiting with Chavez in Cuba, that the president had designated former Vice President Elias Jaua as the new foreign minister.
Maduro had kept the foreign minister's post despite his appointment as vice president in October.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said the naming of Jaua as foreign minister should be reviewed because it was unclear under what authority the vice president was acting when such powers belong to the president alone.
Only a portion of the opposition lawmakers walked out of the session. “We have an illegitimate government,” said lawmaker Maria Corina Machado, one of about a dozen who left.
Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez rejected the opposition's allegations that the government was acting illegally by going ahead with the special legislative session.
“There's no constitutional controversy,” Ramirez told reporters, calling the politicians who walked out “the most extremist sector of the far right.”
Re-elected in October, Chavez has not made any public comments since his latest cancer surgery Dec. 11.
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.
- Gestapo impostor tricked British fascists, secret files show
- Mussolini’s air raid shelter opens
- As oil prices fall, fear rises in Venezuela
- Everything is America’s fault, Putin says
- Canada balances security, openness
- Miss Uganda hopefuls get dirty in agriculture phase of contest
- Abbas seems desperate in round of belligerent rhetoric
- Olympic athlete Pistorius given 5-year prison sentence
- 2 dead in shooting attack at Canada’s Parliament