Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday delivered a short state-of-the-nation address from Hugo Chavez’s government sparking criticism from the opposition side which argued that the speech is supposed to be delivered by the president himself.
Opposition politicians argued that the annual speech should have been postponed because Chavez was supposed to deliver it.Some of the opposition members and walked out in protest.
During the state-of-the-nation speech, Maduro said Chavez designated former vice president Elias Jaua as the country’s new foreign minister.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles however said , naming Jaua as foreign minister should be reviewed because it was unclear under what authority the vice president was acting when such powers belong to the president alone.
Maduro also gave highlights a bout the health of president Chavez.The governors who attended included Chavez’s elder brother, Adan, other allied politicians and top opposition leader Henrique Capriles and two other opposition governors.
Earlier on Tuesday, Maduro said Chavez has been making progress in his treatment for a severe respiratory infection and asked questions of his aides during a visit on Monday.Maduro said he and other officials provided Chavez with an update on “the government in a new stage” and other matters.
Reelected in October, Chavez has not made any public comments since his latest cancer surgery December 11.
He has been fighting an unspecified type of pelvic cancer, and his long silence has fed speculation about why he has not addressed the country by phone on television, as he did during past treatments in Cuba.
Government officials have said Chavez is being treated for “respiratory deficiency.”