People in Venezuela continue to wait on news of the president.
Today we went to a Ministry where a Christmas Mass was turned into a collective prayer for the commander-in-chief. There I met Marlene Vanegas who says she won’t stop praying until President Hugo Chavez has fully recovered. She dresses all in red, the colour of Chavez’s socialist revolution.
She turned to me and said:
Chavez is a man, he is the people, he is hope. We had never had a president like him, that has given himself to his people. I think that he got ill because of that.
On Wednesday, Nicolas Maduro, the vice president, updated the nation on Chavez’s condition. We evaluated the process of the operation and we want to tell the Venezuelan people that the surgery was complex, difficult, delicate, which tells us the post-surgery is also going to be complex and tough.
On the streets of Caracas, people watched in anguish as Maduro called on Venezuelans to come together and put political differences aside.
They looked grim, sad, worried.
They are trying to remain optimistic that the man they call commander will return on time for his inauguration, scheduled to take place on January 10. They say that they cannot imagine a future without Chavez
Since Chavez’s surgery the government has updated the public on the president’s condition, always careful to not give too many details. His health has been managed with extreme secrecy.
The opposition says Caracas is being too vague. Calros Vechio, of the Popular Will Party told me:
I had to ask for information via twitter because nobody is telling us what he has. We still don’t know what type of cancer he has, or who his doctors are. We have the right to know what is going on.
Only two months prior people celebrated Chavez’s re-election. Now, even with the vice president’s reassurances, people in Venezuela are worried about what may come next.
Follow Teresa Bo on Twitter: @TeresaBo