Thousands Rally in Venezuela to Show Support for Chavez
Thousands of supporters of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez held demonstrations across the country Saturday to show support for their leader while he recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.
Demonstrators danced, beat drums and waved flags as they marched through the Venezuelan capital. Crowds of Chavez supporters also held simultaneous rallies in other cities.
In messages posted on Chavez’s Twitter account, the president cheered on the demonstrators. One message said: “Let’s go boys! Building the socialist homeland!” Another proclaimed: “I send all you my heart and my commitment to life and to Victory!”
The president has said a Feb. 26 surgery in Cuba removed a tumor from the same location in the pelvic region where another tumor was removed in June.
Leaders of Chavez’s socialist party spoke to the crowds, expressing optimism that the president will fully recover and win re-election in October. They sought to counter any speculation that Chavez’s health might get in the way of his re-election bid.
Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said Chavez’s political movement is firmly unified in “one single bloc and one single current.” He denounced government opponents as “fascists.”
“We have one single plan … Hugo Chavez is our candidate!” El Aissami said at a rally in western Trujillo state.
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, another longtime ally of the president, led the crowd in chants of “Ooh-ah! Chavez isn’t going away!”
“El Comandante is with us!” Cabello said. “There is no Plan B. … El Comandante will come and will be the candidate of the revolution!”