Hundreds of opposition members marched the streets of Caracas yesterday to demand proof that Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez is still alive and ruling.
The announcement from the Venezuelan government on Saturday saying that Chávez is undergoing chemotherapy treatment has sparked doubt that the president is still alive.
Although Chávez returned to Venezuela last month after being treated for cancer in a hospital in Cuba, he has not appeared in public since. According to the Venezuelan government, Chávez is continuing his role as president and making decisions from the Caracas military hospital where he is staying.
The crowd marching the streets, which consisted of members of the Democratic Unity opposition coalition, students, and other pro-opposition parties, waved banners and chanted “give us the truth”, and “stop lying”.
Venezuela is becoming increasingly concerned about the current government’s position after officials have released differing statements about Chávez’s condition, at times saying that he’s recovering, and at others saying he is battling for his life.
One protester told Venezuelan TV network Globovision that the people “just want to know the real situation”. “Is he fit to govern? He is not any man, we have the right to know what’s going on,” said the protester.
Last Thursday the Venezuelan vice president Nicolas Maduro publicly denied reports by CNN Chile that Chávez was dead. CNN said that Chávez had been taken off his life support machine the week before by his daughters.