Nicolás Maduro was sworn in as caretaker president of Venezuela on Friday, following the death of Hugo Chávez. He said in his first words as Venezuelan leader, “I will do all I can to honour Chávez.” His swearing in has been widely criticised by opposition parties.
“I wear this band, as legitimate president, to protect the people and to make sure the revolution continues.” Maduro said, speaking in front of the Venezuelan people who held banners reading “With Chávez and Maduro this country is safe.” Maduro will be caretaker president until a new president is elected next month.
The Venezuelan Electoral Council announced today that the elections will be held on 14th April, and the campaign will take place between 2nd and 11th April. The opposition Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD) confirmed that they have offered Henrique Capriles the opportunity to represent them in the election. Capriles was the candidate in the last election in October, when he lost against Chávez.
Maduro also confirmed his belief that Chávez was murdered, and announced that a scientific commission is to be set up to investigate an alleged attack targeting the late president.
Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, has stated that he is “almost certain” that the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez was a result of poisoning by the United States.
“Our brothers like Nicolás Maduro and other authorities in Venezuela will carry out a profound investigation, but I am almost certain that this is a poisoning case against Chávez,” said Morales in La Paz, Bolivia.
He went on to say that “the Empire (United States) has all the instruments to plan actions to other throw governments, leaders, social movements that are against capitalism” and suggested that both former Palestine leader Yaser Arafat and Venezuelan political leader Simón Bolivar were also poisoned.
Morales, who returned to La Paz after attending Chávez’s state funeral in Caracas, also accused the “Empire” of fostering internal or bilateral conflicts when coup d’état attempts fail in order to justify UN military interventions, serving countries that seek to loot natural resources.