On numerous occasions, Venezuelans themselves would actually initiate the conversation which was not what I had expected.
In the past, when visiting ‘dangerous’ countries, I have found locals to be very quiet when it comes to discussing their government due to an inherent fear of reprisals.
“Otherwise, it would be a shameful violation of the Constitution.” Shifter said the opposition is on the defensive, with its only tactic being to insist that Jan. “Chavez controls all the key institutions, and it’s doubtful that most Venezuelans will get too upset about defying what seems a fairly minor constitutional provision,” Shifter said.
“Attacking the government because it has no objection to the Supreme Court swearing in Chavez after Jan.
It has interpreted the constitution loosely, to its own political advantage,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington.“In this way Maduro is able to buy some time, assert his authority, and rally support within Chavismo.He puts the opposition on notice and throws it off balance.” He was re-elected in October to another six-year term, and two months later announced that his pelvic cancer had returned.Chavez has undergone four cancer-related surgeries since June 2011 for an undisclosed type of pelvic cancer.He also has undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment.“The president right now is the exercising president.He has his government formed.” Maduro read a portion of the constitution detailing procedures for declaring an “absolute absence” of the president, which would trigger a new election within 30 days, and declared that “none of these grounds can be raised by the Venezuelan opposition.” The Venezuelan Constitution says the presidential oath should be taken Jan. It also says that if the president is unable to be sworn in before the National Assembly, he may take the oath office before the Supreme Court, and some legal experts have noted that the sentence mentioning the court does not mention a date. Ruben Ortiz, a lawyer and opposition supporter, argued that Maduro is wrong and that under the constitution the inauguration date can’t be postponed.Maduro’s position in a televised interview on Friday night generated new friction between the government and opposition over the swearing-in, which the constitution says should occur next Thursday before the National Assembly.Some opposition leaders have argued that if Chavez doesn’t make it back to Caracas by that date, the president of the National Assembly should take over as interim president.I was extremely surprised to find out that most of the Venezuelans I had the pleasure of bumping into were more than up for discussing the political situation in the country.I spoke to die-hard Chavistas, left-wing protestors and everybody in between; the one thing they all had in common was that they were extremely grateful to have somebody listen to their side of the story.