Venezuela opposition seeks answers on Chavez

Due begin new term on January 10, president has not been seen or heard since his cancer surgery in Cuba on December 11.

    Venezuela's opposition demanded that the government reveal specifics of President Hugo Chavez's condition, criticising secrecy surrounding the ailing leader's health more than three weeks after his cancer surgery in Cuba.

    Opposition coalition leader Ramon Guillermo Aveledo said at a news conference on Thursday that the information provided by government officials "continues to be insufficient".

    Chavez has not been seen or heard from since the December 11 operation, and Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said the president's condition remained "delicate" due to complications from a respiratory infection.

    Maduro and other government officials have urged Venezuelans not to heed rumours about Chavez's condition.

    "They should tell the truth," Aveledo said, noting that Maduro had pledged to provide full reports about Chavez's condition.

    He reiterated the opposition's call for the government to release a medical report and said all indications are that Chavez will not be able to be sworn in to begin a new term January 10.

    If Chavez can't take office on that date, Aveledo said the constitution is clear that the National Assembly president should then take over temporarily until a new election is held.

    The Venezuelan Constitution says that if Chavez dies or is unable to continue in office, a new election should be held within 30 days.


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