CARACAS, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of red-shirt followers of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gathered in the streets of the capital Caracas on Thursday to express their support for the ailing head of state.
"I take the oath with Chavez," many people chanted in a show of support for the president, who missed his own inauguration celebration as he recovered from cancer surgery in Havana, Cuba.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro and President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello headed the celebration, accompanied by the presidents of Nicaragua, Uruguay and Bolivia, and Haiti's prime minister, as well as senior officials from other countries in Latin America.
His supporters were also celebrating the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) ruling Wednesday to uphold the government's move to postpone the swearing-in ceremony until Chavez is better, despite complaints from opposition factions.
One supporter, Mirian Sanchez, arrived in Caracas dressed in red and carrying a picture of Chavez, like her fellow companions from Coro, the capital of Falcon state, 453 kilometers northwest of Caracas.
"From this spot, I take the oath with him and I bless him. And to the opposition I say calm down and don't make up things, because the people are in the streets supporting the TSJ, the revolution and Chavez," Sanchez told a Xinhua reporter.
The capital's main Urdaneta Avenue was a sea of red as supporters spilled in from nearby streets and joined crowds gathering in front of the presidential palace of Miraflores.
Other parts of Caracas were also packed with Chavez supporters, including Plaza Venezuela, Libertador Avenue, Panteon Boulevard, Baralt Avenue and streets adjacent to Miraflores.
The TSJ ruling dampened a raging debate between government and opposition leaders on how to handle Chavez's inability to take the oath of office on Jan. 10 as stipulated by the Constitution.
Maduro said the event was a mere formality that could be delayed, while opponents insisted that an interim leader should be named.
Chavez's physical "absence from the country should not be considered a temporary absence (from power)," the court said.
"Despite the fact that on Jan. 10 a new constitutional term begins, a new swearing-in ceremony is not needed given (Chavez's) condition as a reelected president," the court added.
Chavez, 58, underwent a fourth operation on Dec. 11, then contracted a lung infection that has complicated his recovery.
He was reelected Oct. 7 to another six-year term, 2013-2019, winning more than 55 percent of the votes versus a little over 44 percent for his rival Henrique Capriles.
Maduro was to host 22 foreign leaders and senior officials later in the day at a summit of Petrocaribe members, the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN) reported. A mechanism for regional integration, Petrocaribe promotes cooperation in energy matters and is supported by Venezuela's oil industry.
CARACAS, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Postponement of re-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's inauguration has sparked controversy in the country as the opposition said such a move was against the Constitution.
Venezuela's Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the government's decision to delay Chavez's inauguration scheduled for Thursday, saying the swearing-in was not vital due to his status as a sitting president who was re-elected. Full story
CARACAS, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's Supreme Court Wednesday upheld the government's decision to delay the inauguration of ailing President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering from surgery in Havana, Cuba.
The president of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), Luisa Estrella Morales, accompanied by all the members of the high court, announced the unanimous decision at a press conference, dampening a raging debate between Chavez supporters and opponents regarding the leader's status while he recovers in hospital. Full story
CARACAS, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Venezuelan government confirmed Tuesday that President Hugo Chavez will not be able to be sworn-in Thursday, Jan. 10, as the Constitution stipulates.
The president of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello read a letter from Vice President Nicolas Maduro during a regular session, informing the parliament of Chavez's inability to take the oath of office on that day. Full story