Wednesday, January 9th 2013 - 05:35 UTC

Venezuelan government postpones inauguration because of Chavez health problems

Venezuela will postpone Thursday's presidential inauguration due to President Hugo Chávez' continuing health problems, the government announced on Tuesday. Chavez who has dominated Venezuelan politics almost undisputedly since 1999 has not been heard from or seen in public since his Dec. 11 cancer surgery in Cuba.

The president of the National Assembly reads the message from Maduro

The constitution says the president should begin a new term on January 10.

“Chávez' medical team has recommended that the postoperative recovery should extend past January 10” Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a letter read out to the National Assembly.

The letter did not say when the inauguration would take place or provide any time frame for Chávez recovery. However Maduro did say that Chavez would take the oath sometime later before the Supreme Justice Tribunal according to article 231. In this case the Venezuelan constitution does not establish a time limit.

The delay is another sign that Chávez’ battle with an undisclosed form of cancer in the pelvic region may keep him from ruling for a third term. His resignation or death would upend politics in the oil-rich country that has grown accustomed to his charismatic but controversial leadership.

Government leaders insist Chávez is completely fulfilling his duties as head of state, even though official medical bulletins say he has a severe pulmonary infection and has had troubled breathing, although the latest medical reports indicate his condition is “stationary”.

Opposition leaders insist the government is running roughshod over the constitution by ignoring the specified inauguration date. They insist Congress head Diosdado Cabello, a key Chávez ally, should step in as a temporary president while Chávez recovers.

Despite the government’s description of Thursday ceremony as mere ‘formalism’ the opposition insists that on January 10 all elected and political posts, including that of Vice president Nicolas Maduro cease, because a new government takes office.

The opposition is also asking for a medical team to confirm the real medical situation of President Chavez, which should help decide if his temporary absence becomes absolute absence (incapable of taking office) and thus forcing fresh elections.

However the National Assembly dominated by Chavistas can vote a 90 days leave of absence to the president which can be extended once and only for a second 90 days period.

Meanwhile the Executive remains under the control of Vice-president Nicolas Maduro, which Chavez virtually named him his heir before leaving for his fourth cancer operation in Cuba.

The Catholic Episcopal Conference has also joined the controversy and suggested a medical team of reputed Venezuelan doctors makes a diagnosis on President Chavez health to clear all “uncertainties”.

“It is necessary for the authorities to inform with clarity and veracity on the condition and evolution of the President’s health because it is an issue of public interest given the high post he performs” said a release from the bishops and archbishops of Venezuela that are holding a week long ordinary plenary.

The prelates added that the health condition of President Chavez “has generated concern and unease among the whole of the Venezuelan population” and called for respect for the constitution.

“We call on all public powers and citizens to scrupulously respect the constitution because stability and peace depend on respect for the rule of the law” said the church hierarchy. “We need open, frank and respectful dialogue with the purpose of abiding the constitution and Venezuela’s sovereignty, and this must be the path to overcome the multiple obstacles that affect peaceful coexistence but can also lead to a deeper crisis”.

Finally the bishops express deep concern that numerous pieces of legislation make emphasis on ideological matters and introduce concepts such as ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communal state’ not contemplated in the constitution.

“The political-territory organization can’t be built on a restrictive ideology because it would be against the conception of a plural, non-excluding and democratic state as consecrated in the Constitution”.

16 comments Feed

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1 falklandlad (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 10:21 am Report abuse
The Bishops seem to have placed the hammer firmly on the head of the nail. Be interesting to see if the cloaks are a force to be reckoned with in triggering a change in the Venezuelan regime.
2 Captain Poppy (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 11:06 am Report abuse
“Government leaders insist Chávez is completely fulfilling his duties as head of state”

As well as any deadman can fulfill duties as head of state. Apparently venezuela has very low standards to run a country. So much for a constitution.
3 ChrisR (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 11:18 am Report abuse
I just loved this little comment:
“although the latest medical reports indicate his condition is “stationary”.”

Well there's not much movement when you are dead.

You can see how indoctrinated and illiterate the masses of the people are when you look at the photos elsewhere of almost everybody crying. Unless of course they are crying for joy!

4 ptolemy (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 11:26 am Report abuse
South Americans seem obsessed with the dead , glorifying, deifying , etc, Look at Che, Evita, Nestor and too many to count. Right now Chavez has the best of both worlds. He is neither dead nor alive but commands and affects many of the living.
5 Anglotino (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 12:08 pm Report abuse
The most interesting thing is that the longer this goes on the worse it becomes for Chavez. Hubris and vanity got the better of him. He shouldn't have run for president again and should have instead campaigned with his successor.

But being surrounded by sycophants, he believed in his own immortality and now the whole edifice is starting to unravel. His successor could have had 6 years to cement power whether Chavez was alive or dead and hence continue his 'revolution'.

Instead his rule ends with a palace coup in all but name as his party effectively stages a coup on Thursday by taking power without a constitutional mandate.
6 ElaineB (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 12:58 pm Report abuse
@4 In Catholic and Romany culture the dead have huge significance, and are deified and included in all major celebrations. (Obviously, not in person but they always get a mention).

In a way I can understand Che and Evita being remembered, though not in the mawkish, saintly way they often are. Nestor served one term as President. That's all. People have cheese in the fridge longer than that, so why CFKC is so keen to name every static object after him is just a another manifestation of her madness.
7 briton (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 03:28 pm Report abuse
So rumours has it ,
He won’t be around in time for our annual April fools day taker piss,


When ya gotta go,
Gotta go ??
8 CJvR (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 05:04 pm Report abuse
I though El Presidente had to be sworn in on a specific date in Venezuela, or new elections would have to be held. That annoying constitution thingie South America got so pissed on Paraguay for following.
9 Simon68 (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 05:19 pm Report abuse
Well, well, well, so there is a clear disruption of democracy in Venezuela, and I don't see CFK, Dima and Mujica rushing to kick her out of Mercosur!!!!!

What happened to the defense of democracy in the case of Paraguay!!!!!

A slight case of hipocrisy, perhaps?????????
10 Anglotino (#) Jan 09th, 2013 - 09:40 pm Report abuse

You are far too generous. I'd suggest 'major' as a better description.
11 Captain Poppy (#) Jan 10th, 2013 - 11:09 am Report abuse
No worries buddies.....they are just “postponing” something as ordinary as the presidential inauguration, all because they want a deadman running the coutry. In the meantime, the people of venezuela have no constitutional leader, there is no transparency as to the health of the “deadman” that 54% of the electorate (not population) placed in the executive office, the constitution gets brushed aside as usual by dictatorships, democracy is a farce and mercosur does the double standard tango.
Then they wonder why the world thinks South America is a joke.....really now!
12 Simon68 (#) Jan 10th, 2013 - 03:05 pm Report abuse
11 Captain Poppy (#)
Jan 10th, 2013 - 11:09 am

Captain, I just love the “double standard tango”, you should copyright it as Think did with “chuckle chuckle.”
13 Darrás (#) Jan 10th, 2013 - 05:10 pm Report abuse
@11 Captain Poppy : You are right !!! They want a deadman running the country, so they could make a similar show that my ( I am argie ) parents made in the Evita's time, with the addittion of some technology. May be ... we will see the last discurso of Chavez moving his dead lips with servos and make-up and “buen maquillaje”. Prepare for the show ... Kris will be the “buen maquillaje” assistant !!! Daniel.
14 CJvR (#) Jan 10th, 2013 - 10:06 pm Report abuse
Well they wouldn't be the first zombieocracy, North Korea are on their second zombie leader already.
15 GeoffWard2 (#) Jan 11th, 2013 - 11:08 am Report abuse
I imagine we will have a Chavez 'caretaker government' even after the man himself is long dead.

Chavez is becoming not a man but an idea ... as he so desired.

The British media likened him to Spartacus, in that every Venezuelan is a Chavez in his heart.

“I'm Chavez!”
“No, I'm Chavez!”
“No, I'm Chavez!”
“No, I'm Chavez!”
“No, I'm Chavez!”
“No, I'm Chavez!”
for ever ...

Thus there can only ever be one ruler, one party ..
“We are all Chavistas now”
16 ChrisR (#) Jan 11th, 2013 - 04:01 pm Report abuse
15 GeoffWard2

Very like the Peronistas then.

So both country's have had it then?

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