News Column

Venezuelan Opposition Accuses Government of Lying About Chavez

Jan 9, 2013
Hugo Chavez

A Venezuelan opposition alliance on Wednesday accused the government of lying and violating the constitution in postponing the inauguration of ailing President Hugo Chavez.

"It is obvious that (Chavez) is not governing and that they want to make us believe that he is governing. We are being lied to," said Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, leader of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).

Chavez, who was re-elected in October, is being treated for cancer in Cuba. The 58-year-old left-wing nationalist leader suffered respiratory failure last week after a fourth round of surgery.

His deputy and appointed successor Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday informed parliament that Chavez would not be sworn in for a fourth term as planned on Thursday, but would take the oath in the Supreme Court later.

The pro-Chavez majority in parliament gave him permission to take the time he needed to recover, saying the inauguration ceremony was not necessary since the same person remained president.

Chavez had not even signed the communique through which Maduro announced postponing the inauguration, Aveledo told the broadcaster Globovision. He said there was "no real evidence" that Chavez remained in charge.

The constitution established the possibility of declaring the president temporarily absent, a situation that could last for up to 180 days, Aveledo said.

If the government violated the constitution, Aveledo said, MUD will report it to the Organization of American States and to the trade bloc Mercosur.

The Supreme Court could establish a medical team to assess whether Chavez was able to govern, Aveledo proposed.

The opposition leader made his comments while several Latin American leaders were due to arrive in Caracas in a show of support for Chavez.

The government has called a rally of supporters in replacement of the inauguration ceremony.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica and their Haitian counterpart Michel Martelly are the only ones to have confirmed their attendance. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez was due to visit Chavez in Havana on Friday.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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