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Venezuelan VP slams opponents, says Chavez ‘fighting for his health’

By The Citizen
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Venezuela’s vice president said Friday that President Hugo Chavez is “fighting for his health” after cancer surgery, and he slammed the opposition for trying to take advantage of the situation and steal power.

Nicolas Maduro gave no other details about Chavez’s condition in an interview Friday night on state television.

Chavez, 58, has not been seen in public since arriving in Cuba for his fourth cancer operation more than three weeks ago, which has fueled speculation that his health is worse than the government is letting on.

Thursday, a government spokesman said Chavez was battling a severe lung infection that has caused respiratory failure. Ernesto Villegas said the president was following a strict treatment regimen for “respiratory insufficiency” caused by the infection.

The president’s illness has cast doubt on whether he will be able to be inaugurated next week for his fourth term. There is debate over what the constitution requires for a president to take the oath of office in this circumstance.

If Chavez is unable to be sworn in before lawmakers on January 10 as scheduled, the constitution says Chavez can be sworn in before the country’s Supreme Court. But the wording of the constitution isn’t clear on whether the inauguration before the Supreme Court must happen January 10, whether it must occur inside the country, and who should run Venezuela in the meantime. (CNN)