Venezuelan opposition seeks info on Chavez

By Ian James

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2 2013 9:42 p.m. MST

The windshield of a car frames a mural of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Venezuela's vice president is returning home Wednesday from a visit with Chavez in Cuba and says the ailing president's condition remains "delicate" three weeks after his cancer surgery. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's opposition demanded that the government reveal specifics of President Hugo Chavez's condition Wednesday, criticizing 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 that the information provided by government officials "continues to be insufficient."

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

Maduro also urged Venezuelans to ignore rumors about Chavez's condition.

Aveledo said the opposition has been respectful during Chavez's illness, arguing that "the secrecy is the source of the rumors."

"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 won't be able to be sworn in to begin a new term Jan. 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. He said what happens next in Venezuela should be guided by "the truth and the constitution."

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