US expects gov't transition in Venezuela "pursuant to the Constitution"
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a press conference that "in the event that he (Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez) is unable to perform his functions, we would like to see a transition pursuant to the Constitution"
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a press conference that "in the event that he (Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez) is unable to perform his functions, we would like to see a transition pursuant to the Constitution," AP reported.
The United States adopted its position just days after the Speaker of the Venezuelan National Assembly, deputy Diosdado Cabello, a top member of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), hinted the adjournment of Chávez's inauguration date for his fourth term, which according to the Constitution is scheduled for January 10.
However, some lawyers and opponents argue that the swearing-in date cannot be deferred. The Constitution, they claim, provides that in the event that the president-elect cannot be sworn in, the Speaker of the National Assembly must take power and convene a presidential vote within 30 days.
Chávez has not been seen or listened to since on Dec. 11 when he underwent his fourth surgery for cancer in 18 months. Since then, Venezuelan authorities have reported a series of ups and downs in his recovery. On Sunday night, Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro announced that President Chávez was in a "delicate" state of health due to a respiratory infection.
Nuland said Washington also hoped that if a presidential election is held, the vote is "transparent, democratic, free and fair, including the atmosphere surrounding the election.''
The spokeswoman said the US would "judge their ability to improve relations with Venezuela based on the steps that they may take.''
Three Venezuelans and five Trinidadians will stand trial on January 26 under the suspicion of being involved in alleged Muslim terrorist activities in Venezuela. After nine months in prison, the defendants will appear in court to face charges of terrorism brought against them by the Attorney General Office.