Congress' speaker convenes rally in Caracas next January 10
Venezuelan Congress' Speaker Diosdado Cabello said there is neither temporary nor complete absence of the head of state, and, therefore, the congress speaker will not be sworn in as president of the republic
Cabello remarked that neither temporary nor complete absence of the head of state has been determined, and, therefore, the Congress' speaker will not be sworn in. "We will do what the people told us on October 7 (when the presidential election was held): Chávez, President of Venezuela," Cabello stressed.
The PSUV's leader also urged Chávez's followers to rally next January 10 in support of the head of state, and said a concert would be held on that day to honor the Venezuelan leader. Leaders from other countries are expected to join the event.
Cabello ascertained, "One thing is the people opposing the Government, the people in the street, people fully aware of the president's health, and praying for his health (...) and another thing is opposition leaders, who want to cling to power."
Call upon the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference
Regarding the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference (CEV) New Year salutation, in which they called the government not to disrupt the constitutional mandate concerning the presidential inauguration date, Cabello said that the message should have been addressed to the Government's foes and the Church's top leaders, all of whom allegedly took part in the coup d'état in 2002. "We have always defended the Constitution," he noted.
The news marked an ominous beginning, health-wise, of the year 2015: the Cardiovascular Surgery Unit at Hospital Clínico Universitario, one of the country's largest teaching hospitals, was to close completely on January 5 due to lack of medicines and surgical supplies. All patients who were waiting to be operated on were sent home. More than 10 patients waiting for surgery reportedly died there from lack of basic medical supplies in the two months prior to the closure.