Venezuelan Opposition to Protest Court-Approved Delay of Chavez Swearing-in
- Venezuelan Opposition to Protest Court-Approved Delay of Chavez Swearing-in
Jan 12th 2013, by Ewan Robertson
[image: The parliamentary bloc of the opposition MUD coalition called for a
�massive show of force� on 23 January to protest against]
The parliamentary bloc of the opposition MUD coalition called for a
�massive show of force� on 23 January to protest against the legality of
the delay in Chavez�s swearing-in (AVN)
M�rida, 12th January 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) � The Venezuelan
opposition has called for a �massive� street protest against the legality
of the delay in Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez�s swearing-in, with some
sectors of the opposition declaring that they no longer recognise the
The opposition�s call comes in reaction to the Venezuelan Supreme Court�s
decision on Wednesday, which ruled unanimously that a postponement of
Chavez�s inauguration was constitutional.
The Venezuelan constitution stipulates that a president-elect should be
sworn-in on the January 10th after their election. It further states that
if for any �intervening reason� this is not possible, the president can be
sworn in by the Supreme Court, with no date specified.
Chavez, who was re-elected as Venezuelan president for the 2013 � 2019
period in October, has been in Cuba for the last month recovering from a
fourth operation for cancer.
The Venezuelan opposition argues that a delay in Chavez�s swearing-in is
unconstitutional, and that without the ceremony taking place it is illegal
for the government to continue in power.
However, yesterday the Supreme Court�s ruling received the backing of the
Organisation of American States (OAS). Speaking to press, OAS
secretary-general Jose Miguel Insulza announced that the OAS �fully
respects the decision taken by the constitutional powers in Venezuela�.
He continued, �This issue has now been resolved by the three powers of the
Venezuelan state [executive, legislative and judicial]�they have chosen a
way that gives time for the situation [with Chavez�s health] to become
clear, that allows a waiting period for the president elect to return and
The OAS stance reflects broad international support for the legality of the
constitutional situation in Venezuela, with representatives from twenty
seven Latin American countries attending a huge rally to support Chavez on
his would-be inauguration day on Thursday.
At that event, Venezuelan vice president Nicolas Maduro said that a poll by
an international company found that 68% of Venezuelans support the legality
of the delay in Chavez�s inauguration.
The executive secretary of the opposition�s Democratic Unity (MUD)
coalition, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, reacted bitterly to the OAS�s
announcement, calling it �frankly lamentable�.
In reference to the OAS general-secretary's Chilean nationality, he said,
�It�s hard to believe that a person who has suffered dictatorship and exile
simply accepts the government�s official version�.
The MUD had previously sent a �warning� to the OAS over the constitutional
situation in Venezuela, in the hope of getting the OAS to declare a
�violation� of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
*Calls for a �massive show of force�*
In protest against the Supreme Court�s ruling, on Thursday the opposition
called for a �massive demonstration of force on the streets of Venezuela�
on Wednesday 23 January.
The MUD parliamentary bloc in the National Assembly called for supporters
to join �this civic, peaceful and democratic struggle, principally inside
our country, as well as bringing the denouncement of the violation of our
constitution and its democratic principles to the international community�.
Some sectors of the opposition have declared that they no longer recognise
the legitimacy of the government.
Opposition legislator Maria Corina Machado said on opposition TV station
Globovision yesterday that, �Venezuela has awoken today with a usurped
government,� and that neither Maduro nor government ministers should
continue in their posts.
She said that the demonstration on 23 January would mark the beginning of a
�new stage� of �mobilisation and action� by the opposition.
Futher, opposition leader and mayor of Metropolitan Caracas, Antonio
Ledezma, repeated the opposition�s claim that the delay in Chavez�s
swearing-in was a �state coup�. Backing the call to demonstrate, he said,
�The people shouldn�t surrender nor accept humiliation,� while also urging
Several pro-government public and grassroots media sources have drawn
parallels between these declarations and the opposition�s discourse in the
lead-up to short-lived the 2002 coup against the Chavez government.
Speaking at the pro-Chavez rally on Thursday, Maduro reminded those who
disagree with the current constitutional situation, �who want to come out
and march and shout slogans, can do so, in the framework of the law�.
However, he warned opposition supporters �not to go crazy, to respect the
peace of the country; and to that opposition that always falls for coup
temptations, we call on them to reflect and rectify in time�.
*Opposition student protests*
Pro-opposition students organised a series of small protests yesterday.
Students from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) gathered in Caracas
to denounce the �kidnapping� of the constitution.
At the same time, a group of students from the law department of the UCV
announced their support for the Supreme Court�s decision as �in
concordance� with the �fundamental principles� of the constitution.
A small protest in San Cristobal in Tachira state turned violent, with
authorities and public media accusing a group of students of trying to burn
down the headquarters of two public institutions. Opposition TV Globovision
has denounced that nine students were wounded in confrontations with police
at the protest.
Today, opposition supporters gathered in a public square in Caracas to
�reject� the Supreme Court�s judgement. The right-wing Popular Will party,
which organised the event, urged citizens to turn out to protest an
�indefinite usurpation� of the constitution by the Supreme Court.
*Source URL (retrieved on 13/01/2013 - 4:42am):*
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