martes, 8 de enero de 2013

Presidential absence fuels tensions in Venezuela

Hugo Chávez Frías was to be sworn into a new presidential term in Caracas on 10 January but it was very unlikely he would, as he reportedly remained under close medical care following surgery for cancer in December. Opposition forces in Caracas have increasingly urged Venezuela''s socialist regime to inform Venezuelans of the president's state but also respect constitutional stipulations in case of the president's unexpected incapacity. The opposition's position was that the current parliamentary speaker,  Diosdado Cabello, was to take over provisionally and prepare for general elections. The Democratic Coalition Table (MUD, Mesa de Unidad Democrática) wrote to the Organization of American States (OAS) to state its concern about the "alteration of the constitutional order" if this did not happen on 10 January, posing it stated a threat to the "democratic order," Agence France-Presse reported on 8 January. Officials have said Chávez could be sworn in later as this was merely a formality; the country was currently administered by the Vice-President and Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro. The MUD wrote there is "absolutely no room for the interpretation that would alllow the...act to be postponed to an unspecified time." The governor of the state of Miranda and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles separately told a press conference on 8 January that the Supreme Court must clarify the correct interpretation of who should be president on 10 January and the matter could not be left to the government. He said "I don't know what the magistrates...are waiting for. A conflict is presently being envisaged in Venezuela that is undoubtedly constitutional; institutional bodies must respond to this conflict," Globovisión reported. It was not immediately clear where he was speaking. "The country is expecting a way out...a clear interpretation of what this constitutional text says," he said, holding out a booklet before his audience. He asked American presidents not to come on 10 January and fuel the "political game" inside Venezuela, meaning attend a ceremony where Chávez was absent. Capriles wondered aloud why officials were not telling Venezuelans about the president's condition 48 hours before his inauguration, and implied they were lying in this respect. He could not understand he said why they found it "so difficult to speak truthfully," however "harsh" that truth was.