Venezuelans Vow Loyalty to Chavez as He Misses Inauguration


Tens of thousands of Venezuelans swore an oath of loyalty to President Hugo Chavez, who missed his inauguration on Thursday due to health problems, local media reported.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled to postpone President Hugo Chavez’s inauguration until after he completes a course of treatment for cancer. Chief judge of Venezuela’s Supreme Court, Luisa Morales, said that inauguration of Chavez was unnecessary as he served a consecutive term.

Crowds of red-clad supporters of Chavez occupied the streets in Caracas near the presidential palace for their leader’s symbolic swearing-in for the fourth presidential term.

“In the name of the Constitution of Venezuela I swear in absolute loyalty to the Fatherland, the presidency of Comandante Hugo Chavez, I swear to defend the Constitution, our people’s democracy, independence and the right to build socialism in our country,” Vice President Nicolas Maduro said reading the words of the oath of loyalty.

Crowds of people, who came to Caracas from various parts of the country, were repeating his words holding out in the air copies of the Venezuelan Constitution.

The mass event in support of Chavez was also attended by presidents of Nicaragua, Uruguay and Bolivia, as well as foreign ministers of Argentina and Ecuador and officials from other Latin American countries.

Chavez, 58, who has ruled Venezuela for 13 years, underwent four operations for cancer and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela within a year. He underwent his fourth surgery to remove cancerous tissue in Cuba on December 11.

According to the latest official reports, Chavez is being treated for ”respiratory deficiency” after complications from a severe lung infection.



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