You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • Israel escalates aerial offensive on Gaza
    Israel dramatically escalated its aerial assault in Gaza, now in its 3rd day, hitting hundreds of Hamas targets as its missile defense system once again intercepted rockets.
  • Cairo cinema gives Egypt home for alternative film
    Squeezed in between auto parts shops and cafes off the crowded avenues of downtown Cairo, no blaring marquee announces this cinema.
  • Both rivals claim victory in Indonesian election
    After Indonesia’s hotly contested presidential election ended with both sides declaring victory, front-running candidate Joko Widodo called on his supporters to refrain from celebrating out of fear that it could incite violence by
Advertisement

Chavez could miss his inauguration

Lingering illness casts doubt on succession plan

Chavez
Associated Press
Pro-Hugo Chavez posters line a Caracas, Venezuela, street. President Chavez is supposed to be sworn in Thursday, but his illness puts that in doubt.

– Venezuelan lawmakers will meet today in a session that could shed light on what steps may be taken if President Hugo Chavez is too sick to be sworn in for a new term next week.

Legislators will choose a president, two vice presidents and other leaders of the National Assembly, which is controlled by a pro-Chavez majority. Whoever is elected National Assembly president could end up being the interim president of Venezuela if Chavez is unable to be inaugurated on Thursday as scheduled.

Brewing disagreements over how to handle a possible transition of power also could be aired at the session, coming just five days before the scheduled inauguration day specified in the constitution. Chavez’s health crisis has raised contentious questions ahead of the swearing-in, including whether the inauguration could legally be postponed.

The government revealed this week that Chavez is fighting a severe lung infection and receiving treatment for “respiratory deficiency” more than three weeks after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba. The announcement suggests a deepening crisis for the 58-year-old president and has fed speculation that he likely is not well enough to travel to Caracas for the inauguration.

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello called on Chavez backers to show up for the legislative session and demonstrate their support.

“This National Assembly is revolutionary and socialist. It will remain beside the people and our commander,” Cabello said in one of several messages on his Twitter account. “If the opposition thinks it will find a space in the National Assembly to conspire against the people, it’s mistaken once again. It will be defeated.”

Opposition leaders have demanded that the government provide more specific information about Chavez’s condition and say a new election should be held within 30 days if the president doesn’t return to Venezuela by inauguration day.

Some Chavez allies say the inauguration date is not a hard deadline and argue that the president should be given more time to recover from his surgery if necessary.

Chavez hasn’t spoken publicly or been seen since his Dec. 11 operation in Cuba.

Advertisement