Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

December 21, 2012

Venezuela court could decide on Chavez swearing-in

CARACAS, Venezuela — The president of Venezuela’s Supreme Court said Thursday that it could decide whether it’s constitutional to postpone the date of ailing President Hugo Chavez’s swearing-in as he recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.

Supreme Court President Luisa Estella Morales also said the matter has not yet been brought before the court. Chavez is due to be sworn in for another six-year term on Jan. 10, but complications after his Dec. 11 surgery and his silence after the procedure have thrown into doubt whether he will be capable of taking the oath of office.

“At this time, there is no constitutional question to resolve,” Morales said at a news conference. “When the matter is brought up, if it’s brought up, then it will be the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice that will decide.”

The justice’s remarks came after National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello suggested on Tuesday that Chavez’s inauguration could be postponed — a statement that has fed uncertainty about the his prospects of recovery.

Cabello defended the idea in a message Thursday on his Twitter account, saying: “I only expressed my opinion, of which I’m absolutely convinced since it’s in line with our constitution.”

His stance conflicted with that of Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s chosen successor, who on Wednesday said he didn’t want to speculate about such a scenario and that the Supreme Court could settle any such question if needed.

Venezuela’s Constitution says the president should be sworn in on Jan. 10 before the National Assembly.

Maduro said in a televised speech Thursday that Chavez is conscious and progressively recovering. He also said Chavez has been with his family resting while receiving treatment for a respiratory infection.

“He’s well. He’s conscious,” Maduro said during the speech in central Guarico state. “He’s fighting a great battle ... for his life, for his health.”

Maduro reiterated that the president had undergone a complicated surgery.

In addition to the infection, the 58-year-old Chavez also suffered bleeding during the operation, which the government said was promptly stanched.

It was his fourth cancer-related operation since June 2011.

Maduro said on Wednesday that the government is still hoping Chavez can return for the inauguration, and that if the president weren’t able to be sworn in as planned, “he left clear, public instructions about any scenario.”

Chavez said before leaving for Havana that his vice president should take his place if necessary and should be elected president if a new election is called.

The Supreme Court president’s comments seemed to mirror those of Maduro. She said that for now, Chavez is out of the country after being granted permission to travel by lawmakers.

Morales noted that Chavez is a re-elected president rather than a new president, and said “continuity” is highly important. The constitution doesn’t mention re-elected presidents, and only specifies with a president-elect should take office.

Former Supreme Court President Cecilia Sosa agreed with Morales’ stance and also said that the constitution is quite clear that on Jan. 10 “one term ends and another begins.”

“The one that ends can’t be extended,” Sosa told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Constitutional law professor Henrique Sanchez Falcon agreed, saying that extending the term “is absolutely impossible.”

Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said Thursday she and other officials plan to attend Chavez’s inauguration on the scheduled date. “We’re going to see how the president’s health evolves, and whether it’s done on Jan. 10 or it’s postponed,” Holguin said in Bogota.

Medical experts who aren’t involved in the president’s treatment say his recovery is likely to take a month or more if all goes well because he had undergone previous surgeries, radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

State television on Wednesday night showed a documentary about Chavez’s life, including his days selling sweets on the street as a boy in the rural town where he lived with his grandmother.

Maduro praised Chavez in his Thursday speech to supporters, calling the president a unique leader and echoing some of Chavez’s battle cries.

“The unpatriotic oligarchy will never return to govern this country,” Maduro said. “We’re all Chavez! Chavez is a nation that’s on its feet! And it will never, never be defeated!”

The crowd responded, chanting, “Chavez, friend, the people are with you.”

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Palestinian rivals to try again for unity deal

    Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed Wednesday to form a unity government and hold new elections — a potentially historic step toward mending the rift that has split their people between two sets of rulers for seven years.

    April 24, 2014

  • Obama administration weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

    The Obama administration is encouraging many nonviolent federal prisoners to apply for early release — and expecting thousands to take up the offer.

    April 24, 2014

  • Earns Facebook_Stew.jpg Facebook 1Q results soar; CFO to step down

    Facebook’s earnings nearly tripled and revenue grew sharply in the first quarter, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations thanks to an 82 percent increase in advertising revenue.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Georgia Gun Bill_Stew.jpg Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law

    Criticized by one group as the “guns everywhere” bill, Georgia took a big step Wednesday toward expanding where licensed carriers can take their weapons, with the governor signing a law that allows them in bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings under certain circumstances.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clemson Spring Game F_Stew.jpg Clemson’s Swinney won’t change after complaint

    Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday he wouldn’t change procedures after the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s letter of complaint expressing concerns about the football program’s connection to the coach’s Christian religion.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

    April 24, 2014

  • Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results