With the slogan ‘Yo Soy Chavez’, meaning ‘I Am Chavez’, crowds of supporters swore an oath of loyalty to Venezuela’s president, who missed his inauguration due to ill health.
Former bus driver and close Chavez ally Vice President Nicolas Maduro warned the opposition against holding a rally planned for January 23. The opposition are angry that there is no temporary replacement for the president.
On the day the Chavez was supposed to be sworn in, Maduro fired up supporters gathered around the presidential palace.
“Just one thought. The tenth of January: Chavez, Chavez, Chavez! Remembering so many fights next to our commander. Thinking about the people who love him, that defend him who follow him! Who have him as a supreme example,” Maduro told a cheering crowd.
At the pro-Chavez rally, also broadcast on state television, were prominent politicians from other Latin American countries. They included Bolivian President Evo Morales, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica and Cuban Vice President Diaz Canel.
Morales gave a rousing speech in which he described Chavez’s health as “a worry not just for Venezuela”.
Chavez is still being treated for a severe lung infection in Cuba after undergoing an operation for cancer.