Despite protests, Maduro installed in Venezuela
CARACAS — Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of the late President Hugo Chavez, was sworn in to Venezuela's highest office on Friday despite refusal by a newly confident opposition to accept defeat in a hotly contested election.
Flanked by huge portraits of Chavez, “our eternal commander,” and Simon Bolivar, legendary liberator of Latin America, Maduro held a miniature copy of the Venezuelan constitution during a ceremony with numerous heads of state in attendance.
He swore allegiance to “God, Jesus Christ the Redeemer, the Venezuelan people and the memory of Hugo Chavez.” One of the late president's daughters bestowed Maduro with the presidential sash in national colors of red, blue and yellow.
Perhaps signaling the deep and sometimes violent divisions in this oil-rich country, Maduro began his inaugural speech with a promise to extend a hand to all Venezuelans to build an “inclusive nation” of peace and dialogue. The comments that followed, however, were anything but conciliatory, and he revived vague accusations that his opponents were plotting a coup.
Opposition members of Venezuela's Congress boycotted the ceremony.
A few minutes into Maduro's inaugural speech, a man in a red jacket charged toward the podium, apparently attempting to address the new president, before he was tackled by bodyguards and hustled away. Shaken, Maduro scolded his security detail. “I could have gotten shot up here!”
Outside the legislative palace where the inauguration took place, thousands of government supporters dressed in red and waving banners filled the streets. Later, they surged around a military parade where Chavez's image and recorded voice — were again prominent.
On the eve of the inauguration, the pro-government National Electoral Council surprised observers and agreed to opposition demands to review Sunday's controversial vote. The process will take 30 days, crucial time in which Maduro could cement his grip on power.
Still, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who lost to Maduro by less than 2 percentage points, according to official returns, said he was confident the review would prove that he won.
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.
- Islamic State frees 49 hostages
- Scottish teens surprise in independence vote
- Mementos unearthed at Nazi death camp in Poland
- Egyptian President al-Sisi feels vindicated in crackdown as Islamic extremists rise
- NATO chief: Ukraine truce ‘in name only’
- Turkish hostages freed from Islamic State, but questions linger
- More Iraq deployments may be needed as terrorist fight intensifies, Army chief says
- Study: Ocean algae can evolve fast to adjust to climate change
- Ukraine plan would give rebels self-rule to end fighting
- It’s not a small world after all: Global population estimated to soar
- Nominees for 2 Iraqi ministries rejected