Hugo Chavez Inauguration Postponed Indefinitely in Venezuela
Chavez hasn't been seen publicly since the December 11 cancer operation in Cuba — the fourth since the South American strongman was diagnosed with the mortal disease over a year ago — and Vice President Nicolas Maduro was named as Chavez "successor" in case the socialist leader dies or becomes incapacitated to fulfill his duties.
Chavez was elected for a third six-year term last October with a debatable healthy margin (as the country's electoral council doesn't operate independently from the central government) against his challenger Henrique Capriles, a 39-year-old lawyer and governor who favored keeping Chavez's popular social programs while opening the country's government-dominated economy to the private sector. The opposition, which again got dominated by the regime’s party during December's gubernatorial elections, insists that if Chavez is unable to attend his own inauguration the government should name a "temporary replacement."
But Vice President Nicolas Maduro and Speaker of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello, Chavez's two closest allies who, for all intents and purposes are the ones currently running the country (Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores, is Venezuela's Attorney General), insist the inauguration is a "mere formality" and that the Supreme Court and/or the Assembly can either postpone tomorrow's inauguration indefinitely or even swear Chavez in even if he is physically absent.