CARACAS, Venezuela (CBS4) – There’s a possibility Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will not be well enough to attend his inauguration next month, Venezuela’s Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Wednesday.
Chavez’s supporters gathered in prayer after Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said there will be hard days ahead.
Speaking alongside National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, Maduro said, “it was a complex, difficult, delicate operation.” He added, “the post-operative process is also going to be a complex and hard process.”
At Date Aqui Venezuelan Restaurant in West Miami-Dade, patrons were buzzing about what Chavez’s prognosis could mean for the future of his populist movement.
“Clearly, he’s in a very delicate state of health following his operations,” Adriana Dieguez said.
On Saturday, Chavez named Vice President Maduro as his choice to succeed him in office if he becomes too ill to stay in power.
“I think you can see the devotion he has to this revolution,” Dieguez said. But she added, “I don’t think he would be a good president. Everything is relative, but if we’re talking about democracy, I don’t think he would contribute to a democratic Venezuela.
Some argue there can be no “chavistas” without Chavez.
“They don’t believe in Maduro and they don’t care what he has to say,” 20-year-old Marianela Arreaza said. “It’s going to be very bad if he dies and there’s no one they actually believe in.”
Venezuela’s Constitution says that if the president dies or is forced to leave office, a new election must be held within 30 days.
58-year-old Chavez is scheduled to be sworn in for another 6-year term on January 10th after winning re-election in October.
Chavez first announced he had been diagnosed in cancer in June 2011, but never specified which type. He has undergone months of chemotherapy and radiation.